McIlroy is defending his Wells Fargo Championship title in Quail Hollow this weekend
Rory McIlroy insists he is relishing the opportunity to represent Ireland in Rio this summer and says there needs to be a change in attitude toward golf as an Olympic event.
Speaking ahead of defending his Wells Fargo Championship title at Quail Hollow this weekend, McIlroy explained why he will be taking part at this summer's Games.
"Two reasons: Because of how it’s being approached in golf circles, it’s being played in Rio this year and Tokyo in 2020, I’m not sure if we’re going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after that, depending on what happens.
"The second thing: Paul McGinley is the Irish team captain and he is so into it. He’s more into it than I am, quite honestly, but because he is, I would feel like I am not only letting him down, I’d let the country down as well. Paul is a very close friend of mine and if I didn't play I’d let him down big time.
"That’s why I want to go and give it my best shot. I’m going to get all my shots next week from the doctor on site at the Players, get my shots for Zika and everything I need and go play four rounds really competitively and try to win a gold medal."
"I don’t know how that will stack up against the other things I've done in my career now, but maybe I might look back in 20 years’ time and a gold medal might be one of my crowning achievements in the game. You never know."
Adam Scott chips to the second green during the final round of the Masters. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
A number of high profile golfers have already made themselves unavailable for the Olympics; among them Australian Adam Scott, South African pair Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Fiji's Vijay Singh.
Scott had previously said that winning an Olympic medal was something he had ever "aspired to do" but has since claimed the reason is because he does not get to spend enough time at home.
"You know, I just don’t get to see my family enough," he told reporters after playing in the Wells Fargo Championship pro-am.
"I think I’m seeing them six days in seven weeks and it would have been six in nine weeks had I gone to the Olympics. Those are just the hard decisions you have to make.
"That’s the way it is, unfortunately, and that’s the event I decided to skip."