Felt that the competition forced him to choose between Ireland and Britain
World number two Rory McIlroy has said that he resents the Olympics for forcing him to declare his allegiance for either Ireland or Britain.
Speaking to Paul Kimmage of the Sunday Independent the Co. Down golfer said that he was always going to annoy some people whatever decision he made. But having declared for Ireland the 27-year-old withdrew in the build-up to the tournament, where golf returned after a 112-year absence’ as he cited health concerns about the Zika virus for his reason.
“Olympic golf doesn’t mean that much, it really doesn’t. I don’t get excited about it,” he said. “And people can disagree and have a different opinion, and that’s totally fine.
“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 most lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to p**s off the most?
“I started to resent it. And I do. I resent the Olympic Games because of the position it put me in. That’s my feeling towards it and whether that’s right or wrong, it’s how I feel.”
He went on to tell the journalist that he never felt any allegiance to either the British or Irish flag, and how he told eventual Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose the same thing after his win.
“I sent Justin Rose a text after he won. 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 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.”
The interview was part of a two-part 8,000 word piece where the golfer opened up about his love of the game, and the second of which will be published this Sunday (January 15th).
McIlroy, who is currently charging down Australia’s Jason Day for the World Number 1 position, plays in the South African Open this week.