Rory on Rio WD: 'I resent the Olympics Games'


At the time, Rory McIlroy said he was skipping the Rio Olympics because of the Zika virus. He also said he "didn't get into golf to try and grow the game."

But now months later, in an interview with the Sunday Independent, the current world No. 2 is opening up about his uneasiness representing a particular country.

McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, had announced prior to his withdrawal that he would represent Ireland rather than Great Britain in golf's return to the Olympic Games; but the more he considered it, the less comfortable he felt playing for either flag.

"Not everyone is driven by nationalism and patriotism," he told the Independent, via, which elaborated that McIlroy "identifies himself as Northern Irish rather than British or Irish."

The Belfast Telegraph has additional quotes from the interview, in which McIlroy says he resents the Olympic Games for forcing him to choose one country over another.

"All of a sudden it put me in a position where I had to question who I am. Who am I? Where am I from? Where do my loyalties lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to piss off the most?" he said.

"I started to resent it and I do. I resent the Olympics Games because of the position it put me in, that's my feelings towards it, and whether that's right or wrong, it's how I feel."

Great Britain's Justin Rose would go on to win the gold medal, and while McIlroy wasn't shy in reaching out to offer his congratulations, their text conversation summed up the Ulsterman's apprehension.

“I sent Justin Rose a text after he won," McIlroy said. "I think I still have the message: 'I'm happy for you, mate. I saw how much it means to you. Congratulations.' He said: 'Thanks very much. All the boys here want to know do you feel like you missed out?'

“I said: 'Justin, if I had been on the podium (listening) to the Irish national anthem as that flag went up, or the British national anthem as that flag went up, I would have felt uncomfortable either way.'

“I don't know the words to either of them; I don't feel a connection to either flag; I don't want it to be about flags; I've tried to stay away from that.”

McIlroy was just one from a group of the game's top players - including Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and others - who opted not to make the trip to Rio.

He would go on to represent Team Europe at the Ryder Cup in September, going 3-2-0 and taking on a key role as the team's emotional leader opposite the United States' Patrick Reed.