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"I Have Four Olympic Games A Year" - Rory McIlroy Explains Why He's Not Going To Rio

"I Have Four Olympic Games A Year" - Rory McIlroy Explains Why He's Not Going To Rio
By David Clarke Updated
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Rory McIlroy has spoken out for the first time since announcing his decision to pull out of the Rio Olympics, and has insisted he's not embarrassed about the situation.

The world number four's decision to pull from the tournament was due to concerns about the potentially deadly Zika virus, which is prominent in Brazil at the minute. McIlroy was soon followed by Shane Lowry, Jason Day and a host of other golfers who pulled out of the tournament for similar reasons.

Speaking to RTE Sport at Le Golf National ahead of the French Open, the Northern Irishman spoke of the difficult for golfers to motivate themselves towards an Olympic gold medal - given that this is the first time golf will feature at the Olympics 1904:

I've said to people I have four Olympic Games (referring to the major championships) a year. That's my pinnacle. That's what I play for. That's what I'll be remembered for.

Some people argue that it would have been better to send amateurs there, but the whole reason that golf is in the Olympics is because they wanted the best players to go and compete. But unfortunately with where it is this year, people just aren't comfortable going down there and putting themselves or their family at risk.

I don't think it's embarrassing for the game because most other athletes dream their whole lives of competing in the Olympics, winning an Olympic Gold, and we haven't. We dream of winning Claret Jugs and we dream of winning green jackets. Whether that makes golf look insular in any way... it's just the way it is.

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When asked about why no female golfers have pulled out of the Olympics yet due to the virus, the four-time major winner said that the comparison can't be made.

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I guess some of the top women golfers might not have plans to have children in the next six months to a year. You've got Shane (Lowry) who has just got married. Jason Day has a young family. I'm getting married next year.

I think you can't really compare apples-to-apples because we're just in a different position than they are. I'd say 90 per cent of the athletes going to the Olympics are single and have no plans to start a family in the near future, whereas there are some golfers that are in that position and in that scenario."

While a lot of people are quick to point out that the Zika virus is being used as an excuse by golfers to avoid the tournament in Brazil,  McIlroy said it was one of the hardest decision he had to make - given that all the preparation was in place.

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We've done so much work, got accommodation, got security down there, got a chef in, got everything planned out. I got my jabs; I had two dead shoulders for about four days.

But then at the end of the day, if I'm not 100 per cent comfortable going down there, I just don't want to put it at risk. There's another Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 and I'm more than happy to wait until then to get that Olympic experience.

Ireland's hope at the Olympic golf tournament in Rio has taken a blow with the departure of Lowry, McIlroy and McDowell- but with Padraig Harrington and amateur Seamus Power still in the field - we could be collecting medals yet.

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[RTE Sport]

See Also: Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry Are Failing To See The Bigger Picture

See Also: Padraig Harrington Has A Very Different Attitude To The Olympics Than Many Other Golfers

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