‘I don’t know if there’s much to look forward to’: Rory McIlroy pondering his Tokyo Olympics bow with the city in a state of emergency over a rise in Covid-19 cases
Rory McIlroy hopes the Olympics will help him get his game in better shape as there isn’t much else to look forward to in Tokyo.
Strict Covid-19 protocols have placed significant restrictions on athletes to the extent that it will not be the experience that Olympians are used to and McIlroy admits he goes to the Games not out of patriotic duty but because he feels an obligation to play golf as one of the world’s leading players.
He will first fly back to his home in Florida before arriving in the Far East for a week on Tuesday – the golf tournament will start less than 48 hours later.
Rory McIlroy has admitted there isn’t much else to look forward to in Tokyo
McIlroy has several more major golf events on his schedule: the Ryder Cup in September, the World Golf Championship event in Memphis and the FedEx Cup, the season-ending season finale of the PGA Tour.
He knows his game needs improving after a final round of 71 at The Open brought him level and closer to last place than the top of the leaderboard.
When asked if he was looking forward to the Olympics, the four-time big winner replied: “I don’t know if there is much to look forward to. It will be a very different environment.
“I’m looking forward to playing golf for another week and trying to get my game in shape. There’s not much else to do there – so with 12 hours on the golf course I’m hopefully getting my game in better shape.
“For me right now it’s just the process of trying to work back to the kind of form and level that I know I can play.
McIlroy says he feels obligated to play in Tokyo as one of the world’s leading players
“There are a lot of birdies in it, but also a lot of bogeys. I made 17 birdies this week which is more than enough to challenge me to win this golf tournament.
“I’m not very patriotic, I do it because I think it’s the right thing to do.
“I missed it last time (concerns about the Zika virus forced him to withdraw) and to want to make golf an Olympic sport you need your best players there and I feel I like the game of golf more than anything.” also wants to represent.’
There are already some positive cases of coronavirus within the Tokyo athletes village, but McIlroy is not concerned.
“I’ve traveled all over the world since this thing started and I don’t know how I didn’t get it at this point just because of where I’ve been and the environments I’m in,” he added.
“I did everything I could to not get it, I’m vaccinated and when I travel I travel alone – I have the luxury of doing that – and hopefully I don’t have to pick it up on the way.
“Then when you get to Tokyo, it’s a matter of following the rules and trying not to get them, so you only stay there for seven days.”
McIlroy’s game shows how tired he has become and he can’t wait to get home for a few days of rest.
“I’ve been away from the family for three weeks and this week’s performance was not what I wanted,” he said.
“My body is a little messed up, I’m having a few issues – I think I pinched my neck today with the first hole from the rough.”