Flag fever kept Rory out of Rio

10 January 2017 - 09:25 By James Corrigan

It must be doubted if Rory McIlroy will ever play at an Olympics after he admitted that he "resents" the Games and would have felt "uncomfortable" winning gold for either Ireland or Team GB.

ON THE GREEN: Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy has admitted he hates the Olympics.
ON THE GREEN: Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy has admitted he hates the Olympics.
Image: ANDREW REDINGTON/GETTY IMAGES

McIlroy, 27, pulled out of golf's return to the Olympics last year, citing his concerns about the Zika virus.

However, he has since indicated that was not the full story behind his withdrawal from the Irish team. After his latest interview his reasons for his Rio no-show are quite clear.

McIlroy's emotions will certainly not please the golf authorities, as they look forward to Tokyo 2020.

"I resent the Olympic 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," McIlroy told the Irish Independent on Sunday.

"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?

"I sent Justin Rose a text after he won . 'I'm happy for you, mate. 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 anthem; 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.

"Not everyone is [driven by] nationalism and patriotism and that's never been me, because I felt like I grew up in a place where I wasn't allowed to be. It was suppressed.

"I'm very conflicted because I'm a Catholic but I feel very much Northern Irish.

"I never wanted it to get political or about where I'm from, but that's what it turned into. And it just got to the point where it wasn't worth the hassle," the golfer said.

- © The Daily Telegraph

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