NORTHERN Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who was initially a bit reluctant to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, has said his experience changed his opinion at the Games and is now looking forward to 2024 Paris Games.
McIlroy was disinterested in the Tokyo Olympics, where he represented Ireland, saying he was not a patriotic guy and only doing it because he felt it was the right thing to do for the sport.
However, speaking ahead of this week’s PGA Tour event in Memphis, Tennessee, the world number 12 was singing a whole new tune after falling short in a seven-man playoff for the bronze medal in his Olympic debut.
“I certainly didn’t expect to feel the way I did when I was there, but it was great. It was a great experience. I had a wonderful time,” McIlroy said at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
“I had a good chance of getting a medal there at the end but it didn’t quite pan out. It was a great week. I’m already looking forward to Paris.”
Northern Ireland’s McIlroy cited concerns about the Zika virus for sitting out the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics but later conceded it was in large part due to being put in the difficult position of having to pick between playing for either Ireland or Great Britain.
A four-time Major champion and one of the game’s high-profile players, McIlroy said he played with more freedom in Tokyo and that he hopes to utilise a similar approach over the final month of the PGA Tour’s season.
“That’s really it. I know if I do that, then I’ll be able to play some of my best golf or at least give myself the chance to play my best golf,” said McIlroy.
“More freedom, less thought, try to have a little more fun with it and then go from there.”
American Xander Schauffele shot an 18-under to win the gold medal in Tokyo by one stroke. Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini took silver, while C.T. Pan of Chinese Taipei prevailed in the playoff for the bronze.