Rory McIlroy 'excited' to play at the Olympics as he confirms he will represent Ireland in Japan
Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he will be competing at the 2020 Olympics and that he will represent Ireland at the Tokyo Games.
The World No.2 had previously said he was intending on playing in Japan at next summer's Games, however he had never officially confirmed he would be attending.
But now, in an interview with the Golf Channel ahead of this week's inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan, the 30-year-old has revealed he will be competing at the event.
McIlroy did not play at Rio 2016, citing fears over the Zika virus as the reason why he did not attend the first Olympics golf had been played at since 1904.
This time around, however, the Holywood native admits that he cannot wait to play at the Olympics after seeing the reaction of the locals this week.
"I’m excited to play the Olympics and call myself an Olympian," he said, speaking to the Golf Channel.
"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."
Of course, one of the big debates around McIlroy's involvement at the Olympics has centered around who he would be competing for between Great Britain or Ireland.
But the four-time Major champion says that hasn't bothered him this time around and that the decision to declare for Ireland was easier than he thought it would be.
McIlroy has represented the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) throughout his junior career, including winning several high profile GUI events south of the border.
"I think I made it more difficult for myself than I needed to," said the 30-year-old. "My feelings toward it were more 'what will people think?' And once I got that out of my head, I really just tried to do what was right for me. Then it became easy.
"So it was me wrestling with all those things and as I said previously, once I left the not trying to upset anyone - once I left that aside - then it was actually a pretty easy decision.
"And the decision was I'm going to play golf for the country or the nation that I've always played golf for. Through my junior days, my amateur days and now into the professional game.
"Even though the Olympics is giving me this choice, there really wasn't a choice because all I've done throughout my life was play golf for Ireland. And why would that change just because the tournament's changed?"
Belfast Telegraph Digital