Last summer, Rory McIlroy controversially withdrew from Ireland’s golfing Olympic team, citing the Zika virus as the reason for his decision. However, the Northern Irishman has now admitted that the real reason was that he does not feel any connection to Britain or Ireland.
Speaking with the Sunday Independent McIlroy admitted that he resented the Olympics for forcing him to make a decision with regard to his national identity. Having grown up in County Down, McIlroy simply sees himself as Northern Irish. Not British or Irish.
“Not everyone is driven by nationalism and patriotism,” he said.
After sending a message to Justin Rose to congratulate him on his success with Team GB, McIlroy explained how the response he received perfectly captured why he was glad he hadn’t taken part in the first place.
“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 of them; 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.”
McIlroy’s approach shot on the final hole at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open was today named as the European Tour Shot of the Year.
The shot of a champion. https://t.co/7EpcJKAbWH
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 22, 2016