GOLF: Tokyo Olympics not on Rory McIlroy radar

Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy
Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy does not think he will compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

McIlroy has indicated that conflicting loyalties make him uncomfortable with declaring to be part of either a Great Britain or Ireland team for the Games.

The 27-year-old, born in Northern Ireland, opted to represent Ireland, before pulling out of Rio 2016 because of concerns about the Zika virus.

“More likely than not I won’t be going to the Games because of my personal feelings.” said the world number two.

McIlroy says it is a decision he has not taken lightly, one that “I have fought with myself over for so many years”.

“The Olympic Games are fantastic and I think golf’s inclusion is fantastic, but for me its something I don’t want to get into. That’s a personal choice and hopefully people respect that decision.

“It went well in 2016 and I hope it goes even better in 2020 but I probably won’t be a part of it.

“If it upsets some people that’s ok, I can’t please everyone but as long as I am true to myself I’ll be happy.”

Meanwhile, McIlroy begins the new year having not yet decided on what clubs he will play but insists the player rather than the equipment is more important.

The Northern Irishman is among a number of top stars who have been forced into a change following Nike’s withdrawal from the club manufacturing market.

McIlroy has been testing a number of options and will start this week’s BMW SA Open - his first event of the season - with Callaway woods and irons, Titleist wedges and balls and a Scotty Cameron putter.

He has been here before, however. In 2013 he struggled for form immediately after changing clubs as part of signing a multi-million pound deal with Nike.

However, the four-time major winner said his set-up could change on a regular basis until he settles on a favourite combination.

“They are picked for this week but that could change week to week,” he told a press conference.

“This is my first event with those clubs so we will see how it goes this week.

“You never really know until you have a card in your hand and at the end of the day the person swinging the club is more important than the club itself.”

McIlroy is playing for the first time since finishing ninth at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and even on his arrival in South Africa he chose to spend four days on safari before heading to the tournament, hosted by Ernie Els, at Glendower Golf Club in Gauteng.