Lowry delighted McIlroy will be playing for Ireland in Olympics

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry could not be happier with the news that Rory McIlroy has elected to represent Ireland at next year’s 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

And if the Irish team were to be picked this week than it with would be a golf team of McIlroy and Lowry teeing-up in Tokyo.

Sadly, both McIlroy and Lowry elected not to travel to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro fearing the Zika virus, with their places taken by Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power.

As it turned out, the Zika virus was never a threat but many teams were robbed of their top-qualifiers including Mcllroy.

But not this time around and with McIlroy confirming earlier this week he will proudly represent Ireland and Lowry could not be more pleased.

“I think it is great for golf and great for Team Ireland that he is playing, and I hope that I am his partner,” said Lowry, speaking to RTE Sport ahead of the first major of the year.

“I’m a long way in the right direction of being his partner, I think I have a good few points on the board.”

Lowry revealed that he has built up a very strong relationship with McIlroy over the last couple of years, helped by the fact that both players are based in Florida.

However, Lowry said that he had no influence in McIlroy’s decision to opt for Ireland for the Tokyo tournament.

“He told me so I have known for a while. I’ve been around him a little bit down in Florida and my coach Neil [Manchip] is the team manager for the next Olympics so he has been talking to Neil about it.

“I definitively didn’t try to encourage him or have a say in it at all. He is his own man and it is up to him.

“But we seem to have built up a nice relationship over the last couple of years and we played golf last Friday, myself, Rory and Neil.”

And while he chose not to compete in Rio, pulling on the Irish team colours whether it be at a World Cup of Golf or an Olympic Games, there is none prouder than Lowry.

“Rory has had it difficult over the last number of years, trying to decide who to play for, and I don’t envy him with any of those choices,” said Lowry.

“I got a lot of stick about not playing in the last Olympics, but playing for Ireland means a whole lot to me.

“We played a lot growing up. We won the European Team Championships together and you never forget your amateur years, they were the best days of my life playing for Ireland.

“I have played a couple of times in the World Cup and I am really hoping that I can make the next Olympics and hopefully I can be Rory’s partner.”

Lowry ended his preparations for this week’s PGA Championship playing a final practice round with Padraig Harrington but ended up losing a $100 bet to the 2020 European Ryder Cup captain.

This year’s PGA Championship is Lowry’s eighth and with a best finish of ninth behind McIlroy in 2014.