Rory McIlroy says he would "regret" not playing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Rory McIlroy said that not playing at the Olympics would be a big career regret.
He's about to play The Open on home turf in Northern Ireland and is already looking forward to Tokyo 2020 a year from now.
McIlroy opened up on why he didn't take part in Rio 2016, the soul searching he went through before his Tokyo 2020 decision and how he "would have regretted" not experiencing an Olympic event at least once in his career.
The elite golfer decided in May to represent Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Games and not Great Britain.
"I needed to do a lot of inner thought and sort of... Is this important to me?" began the World no.3 when asked why he changed his mind about playing at the Olympics and what it will mean to him.
"Why do I want to play it [The Olympics]? Who do I want to represent? All that sort of stuff..." he continued.
"It's a wonderful experience. I've never done anything like that before." - Rory McIlroy
"I probably would have regretted it"
"So at the end of the day, I think with where golf is, with it being part of the Olympic movement, I think if I had to look back on my career and not played in one [Olympic Games], I probably would have regretted it."
"So that was part of the reason I wanted to go, for the experience, as well."
"It's going to be... it's a wonderful experience. I've never done anything like that before."
The men's Golf competition at Tokyo 2020 will run from Thursday 30 July to 2 August.
Why did Rory McIlroy not play at Rio 2016?
"I guess I was ... at the start whenever I was thinking of playing at the Olympics, I think I let other people's opinions of me weigh on that decision."
McIlroy is currently ranked No.3 in the world, 1 place ahead of reigning Olympic champion Justin Rose who won the gold medal in Brazil.
"And at the end of the day, it's my decision. I can't please everyone."
"The only people who really care about who I play for, who I represent, don't mean anything to me."