Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he will represent Ireland at next year’s Olympic Games claiming it was an easy decision to make as soon as he stopped worrying about “trying not to upset anyone”.
McIlroy, who is eligible to represent both the UK & Ireland, withdrew from the Rio Games in 2016 citing issues over the Zika virus. However, many speculated that the real reason behind his withdrawal was over issues relating to nationality.
The County Down native has now confirmed that he will be taking part in next year’s Games and that he will be representing Ireland, as he always has done.
“I think it (the decision to represent Ireland) was difficult up until the point that it wasn’t if that makes sense,” McIlroy told the Golf Channel.
“I made it more difficult for myself than I needed to.
“My feeling towards it were more ‘what will other people think?’ Once I got that out of my head and just tried to do what was right for me, it became easy. It was me wrestling with all of those things.
“Once I left trying not to upset anyone to aside, then it was actually a pretty easy decision. I’m going to play golf for the country or the nation that I’ve always played for – through my junior and amateur days and now into the professional game.
“Even though the Olympics has given me this choice, there really wasn’t a choice because all I’ve done throughout my life is play golf for Ireland so why would that change just because the tournament changed.
“I’m excited to play in the Olympics and call myself an Olympian. Coming to such a golf-crazy country like Japan helps. It’s a really good atmosphere and just being here this week and seeing the enthusiasm of the fans makes me look forward to coming back next year and playing the Olympics.”