McIlroy confirms the intention to play for Ireland in the Olympics

McIlroy confirms the intention to play for Ireland in the Olympics

Rory McIlroy confirmed his intention to play for Ireland at the 2020 Olympics.

Northern Irishman had planned to go to the 2016 Games in Rio, but pulled out due to concerns over the Zika virus.

In the construction of the last Olympics, McIlroy, who was born in Holywood, County Down admitted to choosing which nation to play for, had left him somewhat angry throughout the saga.

The 30-year-old was asked about his plans for Toyko 2020 when he was preparing for this week's USPGA Championship at Bethpage, New York.

"More likely than not, I want to play. I think it would be a great experience," McIlroy said at a press conference. "Right now in my mind, I will most likely play."

Asked which nation he intended to represent, McIlroy, who played for Ireland as an amateur, replied: "The same thing I said I wanted a few years ago."

McIlroy later recalled the subject at the press conference a more detailed account of the reasoning behind his decision.

With Neil Manchip, who used to train McIlroy as an amateur, set out to lead the Irish team in Japan, the world number four admitted that he would probably be "a little nostalgic".

McIlroy said, "I think like a young boy, it was always my dream to play for Ireland. I wanted to play for Ireland. I was very proud to put on that shirt or blazer.

"It's the same as rugby players, aren't? There are players playing for Ulster, but they want to play for Ireland. It is seen as a hellish sport, like hockey is, just like most of the sports are.

Rory McIlroy represented Ireland as an amateur (PA)
Rory McIlroy represented Ireland as an amateur (Richard Sellers / PA)

"So of course when you put the Olympics in the equation and then there is a choice to make, you really have to start thinking:" Okay, what are your beliefs and your values? "

"It needs you to dive a little deeper. It's not just a superficial decision. It's something you really have to believe in."

McIlroy continued, "I've been thinking about it for a long time, and finally it was the fact that when I was a little boy and I got the first call to the national team to move on to Citywest and be a part of the youth system and make it team and play in home internationals, I was so proud to do so.

"So why would it be different just because it's another golf tournament or because it's another arena or environment? It was basically what it came down to.

"I had an incredible amateur career, and I don't mean that in terms of results, but I mean in the experiences I had and the tours I had and the friendships I made and the friendships I still have this day.

"It was all because of playing for Ireland and getting close to some of those guys.

"I'm excited to come to the Olympics. I'm excited to play for Ireland."

McIlroy hopes he can doubt his major this week.

Northern Irishman, twice an American PGA champion, will again be among the favorites as he seems to have an influence on Bethpage after seeing his Masters challenge weaker.

"I have a really good record on PGA, a few victories and decent finishes," McIlroy said, hitting an end 73 in the Wells Fargo Championship, who saw him fall out of doubt about a win at Quail Hollow.

"We play on a golf course, I like and have experience if I play as I can, hopefully I will get a chance."

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