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McIlroy opts for Irish team in 2020 Olympics

Northern Irishman, who could compete for Great Britain, picks sides in a long-running dispute on Irish isle

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy will lead the PGA Tour's 'A-list' talent in the season restart at Colonial.

Announced: By Rory McIlroy in an interview Wednesday with Golf Channel, that he intends to play for Ireland in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. McIlroy, 30, a citizen of Northern Ireland, is a British national and could be part of Great Britain’s Olympic team. However, golf has bridged the international divide on the Irish isle in recent years and united under a unified Ireland team, encouraging residents of Ireland and Northern Ireland to compete together. McIlroy declined to participate in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where golf made its return to medal competition after a 112-year absence. He cited fears about the zika virus, but having to choose between Ireland and Great Britain – a divide racked by generations of sectarian violence on the Irish isle – also was a key factor. McIlroy has yet to formally qualify for the Olympics, but his appearance would seem to be virtually assured. McIlroy, a 17-time winner on the PGA Tour, including four major championships, is No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. “Coming to such a golf-crazy country like Japan helps,” he said before the start of this week’s PGA Tour Zozo Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, site of the 2020 Olympic golf tournament. “Just being here in Japan this week and seeing the enthusiasm of the fans makes me look forward to coming back next year and playing in the Olympics in Tokyo.”

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