The Olympics, Tiger Woods and the perils of greatness - Rory McIlroy sits down with Paul Kimmage
In the first part of an exclusive interview in the Sunday Independent, Rory McIlroy has spoken to Paul Kimmage about his early days as a professional golfer, the Olympic Games, Tiger Woods and his determination to avoid the perils of greatness.
Kimmage recounts meeting a young McIlroy in 2004, a 'mild mannered 14-year-old from Holywood, Co Down' - before exploring the four-time Major champion's reaction to continuous questions about pulling out of the Olympics.
Kimmage chose McIlroy's defiant retort to the press as one of his sporting highlights of 2016, and the duo flesh out his reasons for the comments in great detail in part one of their fascinating conversation.
"I’d had nothing but questions about the Olympics — ‘the Olympics, the Olympics, the Olympics’ — and it was just one question too far," the world number two tells Kimmage.
McIlroy then delves into his feelings of Irishness, talking openly about the pressure of choosing between the Ireland and Great Britain Olympic teams.
The 27-year-old also reveals the early struggles he had in his professional career - at one stage crying on the end of a hotel bed in Korea - while also giving an interesting insight into his relationship with Tiger Woods.
"I’m drawn to him [Woods], yeah," McIlroy says.
"He’s an intriguing character because you could spend two hours in his company and see four different sides to him."
Read the first part of Paul Kimmage's interview with Rory McIlroy in today's Sunday Independent or on Independent.ie at 6pm.