McIlroy headed to Olympics “to represent the game of golf more than anything else”

John Craven

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has ruffled some feathers ahead of this month’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, admitting he’s chosen to represent Ireland not out of a sense of patriotic duty but as a commitment to golf’s inclusion in the Games.

“I’m not a very patriotic guy, I’m doing it because I think it is the right thing to do,” McIlroy said.

“I missed it last time [in Rio] and for golf to be an Olympic sport you need your best players there and I feel I want to represent the game of golf more than anything else.”

Always giving of his time and often honest to a fault, McIlroy’s latest comments have already drawn criticism from Irish golf fans, particularly off the back of Seamus Power’s maiden PGA Tour victory at the Barbasol on Sunday night. Many believe Power, who represented Ireland alongside Padraig Harrington five years ago at the Games, should be drafted in to partner Shane Lowry given the enormous pride the pair would take in representing their country.

For McIlroy, the talk around Tokyo has never been about medals, and following his underwhelming performance of a tie for 46th at The Open, not only is the talk not about medals anymore but rather it’s about obligation; McIlroy even hinting that he’ll be using his Olympic experience to work out a few more kinks in his game.

“I don’t know if there is much to look forward to. It’s going to be a very different environment,” McIlroy said when asked if he was looking forward to competing at the Games.

“I am looking forward to getting another week’s golf in and trying to get my game in shape. There’s not much else to do there – so with 12 hours at the golf course hopefully I get my game into better shape.

“For me at the minute it’s just the process of trying to work my way back to the sort of form and the sort of the level that I know I can play at.”

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2 responses to “McIlroy headed to Olympics “to represent the game of golf more than anything else””

  1. Pete avatar


    Firstly, I personally have no issue with either Rory or Lowry’s reasons for not playing in Rio. To me, it was valid considering the unknowns around Zika. However, if they’re happy to go to Tokyo, in my view, representing your country is the only reason why you should want to play in the Olympics.

    If that’s not his cup of tea, I would have more respect for him if he pulled out and said let someone else play who it means more to.

    I find Rory’s performance in press conferences very odd. All his comments achieve is either more pressure on himself (e.g. “I’ve found something in my game” pre the Open) or result in him being under fire. I honestly wonder who, if anyone, he has advising him.

  2. Marcus Conroy avatar
    Marcus Conroy

    I think his comment stinks
    He should be dropped

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