Rory McIlroy eyes Olympic gold in Rio

A hench Rory McIlroy in action during the first round of The Masters on April 7, 2016
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Rory McIlroy sets his sights on winning an Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

Rory McIlroy has set his sights on winning the gold medal at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Golf will be included at the Games for the first time since 1904 this summer, although a number of high-profile players have made themselves unavailable for selection.

McIlroy himself admitted earlier this year that an Olympic medal would come second to a Major championship for him, but he has now acknowledged that he could look back on a gold as one of his greatest achievements.

When asked why he has chosen to play in Rio, McIlroy told reporters: "Two reasons - Because of how it's being approached in golf circles, it's being played in Rio this year and Tokyo in 2020, I'm not sure if we're going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after that, depending on what happens. The second thing - Paul McGinley is the Irish team captain and he is so into it.

"He's more into it than I am quite honestly, but because he is, I would feel like I am not only letting him down, I'd let the country down as well. Paul is a very close friend of mine and if I didn't play I'd let him down big time. That's why I want to go and give it my best shot.

"I'm going to get all my shots next week from the doctor on site at the Players [Championship], get my shots for Zika and everything else I need and go play four rounds really competitively and try to win a gold medal. I don't know how that will stack up against the other things I've done in my career now, but maybe I might look back in 20 years' time and a gold medal might be one of my crowning achievements in the game. You never know.

"It's an opportunity to do something you've never done before. I get that a lot of players aren't playing because of family matters and other things, but while I don't have those issues of a family it's a good opportunity. If nothing else it will be a great experience."

Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh are among the players to have ruled themselves out of competing in Rio.

A scoreboard at Whistling Straits ahead of the US PGA Championship on August 10, 2015
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