Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods excited at prospect of playing in 2020 Olympics
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 14/05/19 6:58pm
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have both indicated they are keen to compete at the Olympic Games in Toyko next year.
McIlroy was reluctant to tee up in Rio in 2016 and was one of a number of high-profile players to withdraw from golf's return to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years, citing fears over the Zika virus.
Many observers felt that McIlroy's decision not to take part was due to the consequences of being able to choose between playing for Ireland or Team GB, although he initially insisted he would represent Ireland before pulling out.
But when asked if he was keen to feature at the Tokyo Games next year, McIlroy revealed he would "most likely play", although he was then clearly frustrated by a follow-up question in his PGA Championship press conference when pressed on which team he would play for.
"It's more likely than not I will play, and I think it would be a great experience," said McIlroy. "We're going to play the Open and then probably go back to Memphis and then go to Tokyo.
"So it's sort of going to be one of those deals where we probably get in on Tuesday, tee it up on a Thursday, and then we've got to get ready for the rest of the season.
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"It's just one of those things where it's just in the middle of a really busy stretch, but yeah, right now in my mind I'll most likely play."
However, a follow-up question on his choice of country to represent was met with a stern glare and a short, snappy answer: "The same one that I said I was a few years ago", although he was more relaxed when asked later about the prospect of playing for Ireland, as he did when he was an amateur.
"As a young boy it was always my dream to play for Ireland," he added. "I wanted to play for Ireland, and I was very proud to put on that shirt or that blazer.
"It's the same as like the rugby players, right? There are players that play for Ulster, but they want to play for Ireland. It's seen as a whole island sport, just like hockey is, just like most of the sports are.
"So when you put the Olympics into the equation and then there's a choice to be made, you really have to start thinking about your beliefs and your values. It makes you delve a little bit deeper, but it's not just a superficial decision. It's something that you have to really believe in.
"I'm excited to be going to the Olympics. I'm excited to play for Ireland. I'm excited that Neil Manchip, who was our national coach when I was an amateur, is going to lead the team. I don't know who might be going on that team as well, but I'm excited for it."
Woods, meanwhile, feels that next year could be his last chance of featuring in an Olympic Games, and he was in no doubt that he would welcome the opportunity to compete for a gold medal.
"Would I like to play in the Olympics? Yes," Woods said. "I've never played in the Olympics, and I'm sure that I won't have many more opportunities going forward at 43 years old now to play in many Olympics. Yes, that would be a first for me and something that I would certainly welcome if I was part of the team.
"Getting there and making the team is going to be the tough part. How many events do I play? Do I add a couple more to get in? These are all questions that will be answered going forward. I just know that if I play well in the big events like I did this year, things will take care of itself."