Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods set for the Olympics in Tokyo

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

'I said to Justin, if I had been on that podium listening to the Irish flag or the British flag, I would have felt uncomfortable either way, ' said McIlroy at the time.

McIlroy was one of a number of high-profile male golfers who opted out of golf's return to the Games, in Rio three years ago, amid concerns relating to the Zika virus. I've never played in the Olympics and I'm sure I won't have many more opportunities going forward at 43.

However, this time around the 30-year-old will travel to Tokyo and represent Ireland at the Kasumigaseki Country Club. He said: "Would I like to play in the Olympics? Yes".

"As a young boy it was always my dream to play for Ireland", he said in NY on Tuesday.

If I play well in the big events, like I did this year, things will take care of themselves.

I wanted to play for Ireland.

"It's the same as like the rugby players, right?" He was the national coach when McIlroy was first selected to play for Ireland and he also is excited at the prospect of playing with some of his former teammates. It's seen as a whole island sport, just like hockey is, just like most of the sports are.

"So then obviously when you put the Olympics into the equation and there's a choice to be made, you really have to start thinking, what are your beliefs and your values".

"So why would it be any different just because it's a different golf tournament or because it's a different arena or a different environment?" he added.

"I've thought about that for a long time, and in the end, it was the fact that when I was a little boy and I got that first call-up to the national squad to go on to CityWest and be a part of the youth system or the boys or whatever, you know, and making that team and playing in home internationals, I was so proud to do that".

Tiger Woods, who sits sixth in the world rankings, says he would welcome the chance to represent the United States at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. "I mean, I had an unbelievable amateur career, and I don't mean that in terms of results, but I mean that in the experiences I had and the trips that I had and the friendships that I made and the friendships that I still have to this day", McIlroy said. McIlroy had been scheduled to play for Ireland in 2016 until announcing that June he would not be going. It's going to be cool'. I resent the Olympics because of the position it puts me in, and whether that's right or wrong, that's how I feel'.

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