Rory McIlroy missed golf’s return to the Olympics last summer, and he likely won’t be at the Tokyo Games in 2020, either.
Speaking before this week’s BMW SA Open Championship on the European tour, McIlroy said he “more likely than not” won’t be going to the 2020 Games.
“Just because of my personal feelings towards — not the Olympic Games, the Olympic Games are great and I think golf included in the Olympics is fantastic — but for me, it’s just something I don’t want to get into,” he said. “That’s a personal choice and hopefully people respect that decision.”
McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland, has spent a lot of time discussing his absence from the Olympics. In a lengthy interview in the Independent earlier this week he said he resents the Olympics for making him decide between representing Ireland or Great Britain.
“It’s not to say where I’m from is a bad place,” McIlroy said. “Northern Ireland is one of the best places on Earth, and I try to get back there as much as I can. But again, it’s a personal decision and it’s a decision I haven’t taken lightly and a decision I’ve fought myself over for so many years.”
He also was critical of the Games at a British Open press conference last year, in which he said he didn’t think it was his job to grow the game.
“I went a bit far,” McIlroy said earlier this week. “But I hate that term, ‘growing the game.’ Do you ever hear that in other sports? In tennis? Football? ‘Let’s grow the game.’ I mean, golf was here long before we were, and it’s going to be here long after we’re gone. So I don’t get that, but I probably went a bit overboard.”
Jordan Spieth was also a high-profile name to skip Rio, but he’s since said it’s a goal to represent the U.S. in Tokyo. McIlroy has a different view.
“I think golf in the Olympics is a great thing, and it went so good last year and I hope it goes even better in 2020,” he said. “I just probably won’t be a part of it.”