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‘I never dreamed of that’: Rory McIlroy admits he doesn’t know what Olympic medal would mean… but he wants to find out

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Ireland's Rory McIlroy practiced alongside Shane Lowry ahead of making his Olympic debut tomorrow. Pic: AP Photo/Matt York

Ireland's Rory McIlroy practiced alongside Shane Lowry ahead of making his Olympic debut tomorrow. Pic: AP Photo/Matt York

AP

Ireland's Rory McIlroy practiced alongside Shane Lowry ahead of making his Olympic debut tomorrow. Pic: AP Photo/Matt York

Rory McIlroy made a putt on the final green to clinch his first big win of Olympics week - a halved match with Shane Lowry on his first trip around Kasumigaseki Country Club.

But when asked what it would mean to hole out for an Olympic medal on Sunday, the world No 13 confessed he had no clue.

"I don't know what it would mean," he said. "I never dreamed of that. I dreamed of Claret Jugs and green jackets. I never dreamed of winning the Olympics, so I don't know what it would mean until you actually got one.

"It's a hard one to put into words. If it wasn't an option for you growing up and dreaming about it, so what's the …. maybe I could articulate it a little better if I was in possession of one."

Holing the putt on his final hole on Wednesday certainly meant something "That was very meaningful," he joked. "That putt made sure I didn't lose any money, and Shane didn't make any money."

Lowry has been practising at the course since Monday, but McIlroy's private jet did not arrive in Tokyo until Tuesday, and he only got his first look at the course today.

"It's great," he said. "It's really, really nice. I've always been a big fan of Tom Fazio courses anyway. I'm trying to sort of think of like what I could compare it to back in the States, but it's a really fun golf course. It's in great shape, obviously. It's immaculate.

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"There's plenty of opportunities out there for birdies, but if you don't hit the fairways, the rough is pretty penal in spots."

As for his journey from Florida to Japan, he had no complaints.

"Fine," he said. "Left Palm Beach at 6am and got in, landed here around 11am yesterday (Tuesday). Got through the airport quickly, which is nice, got to the hotel, did a workout and met the guys for dinner and had a good night's sleep. Good day of practice today."

He's been drawn with tournament favourite and current Open champion Collin Morikawa and South Korea's Sungjae Im tomorrow and hopes his impression that the event has the feel of a limited field World Golf Championship will pay off for him, having won three of those so far in his career.

"Just come out and play," he said of his plan of action. "It sort of feels like it's got that World Golf Championship feel, like limited field, no cut. It's just got a nice feel."

He's disappointed there will be no fans on-site and that he can't see other events, but he's ready simply to go out and do a job which is to win a medal.

"When Hideki won the Masters, the first thing I thought of was how good is the atmosphere going to be at the Olympics," he said. "But, unfortunately, that's not the case. So yeah, it's tough.

"It's not the Olympic experience anyone dreams of having. I was even saying to Shane how good would it be to go and watch some of the other events this evening. That's the unfortunate part about it, but there are three medals up for grabs, and we're all here trying to play for them."


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