Rory McIlroy announces he will represent Ireland at Tokyo Olympics
15 Mai, 2019, 14:19 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
McIlroy, who represented Ireland throughout his amateur career, said his decision to pencil Tokyo 2020 into his schedule was helped by the as yet "unofficial" appointment of the Golfing Union of Ireland's national coach Neil Manchip as Olympic team leader and the chance to rekindle the good memories of his amateur career. It's going to be a great experience, and probably a little bit nostalgic because it'll bring me back to 15 years ago, whenever I was doing that with the same people, with Neil, with Shane.
At the time, McIlroy cited issues such as the Zika virus and his struggle to decide on an allegiance between Britain and Ireland as his reasons for not competing.
Two years after telling one of Ireland's leading newspapers that he resented the Olympics and felt no connection to either the British or the Irish flag - 'I want to stay away from flags, ' he commented - the 30-year-old completed the most remarkable about-turn.
"I think as a young boy it was always my dream to play for Ireland", McIlroy said as he continues his preparations for the US PGA Championship.
"As a young boy it was always my dream to play for Ireland", he said in NY on Tuesday.
"I wanted to play for Ireland, I was very proud to put on that shirt or that blazer".
"It is the same as the rugby players, there are players that play for Ulster but they want to play for Ireland as well".
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"Golf is seen as a whole island sport, just like hockey is and most other sports are".
"So then obviously when you put the Olympics into the equation and then there's a choice to be made, you really have to start thinking, 'OK, well, what are your beliefs and your values and it makes you sort of have to delve a little bit deeper".
"It's not just a superficial decision". It's something I'd certainly welcome if I was part of...
At a petulant press conference at the Open at Royal Troon, just a month before Rio, he said that he wouldn't watch the golf at the Olympics.
He said that his past experiences representing Ireland sealed the decision. McIlroy made it plain that the latter was never a realistic option. McIlroy had been scheduled to play for Ireland in 2016 until announcing that June he would not be going.
McIlroy, who has a win and eight top-10 finishes in 10 events this year, said he is not totally committed to playing in the Tokyo Olympics. "So it's going to be cool".
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