Tiger wants to play in Tokyo 2020 Games

Tiger Woods says making the Olympic team is a big goal, while Rory McIlroy confirms he will represent Ireland at Tokyo 2020.

GOLFING legend Tiger Woods is targeting next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, describing it as a “big goal” as he looks to add another chapter to his decorated career.

Golf returned to the Olympics at Rio 2016 after a 112-year hiatus, but injury ruled Woods out.

The top 15 players in both the men’s and women’s rankings qualify automatically for the Olympics, with a limit of four players from one country.

Outside of that, players will be eligible based on world rankings, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.

Woods is currently ninth in the world but is the sixth highest-ranked American.

“Making the Olympic team is a big goal,” the 15-time major winner said. “I don’t see myself having too many opportunities other than next year.

“Four years from now, at the next Olympic Games, I’ll be 48 years old,” Woods said. “To be one of the top Americans at that age is going to be tough.”

He added: “I went to my first Olympic Games when it was in Los Angeles [1984]. So now to have the opportunity to be a part of the Olympics, because golf in my lifetime wasn’t a part of the Olympics, is an important aspect for us and the growth of the game.”

“The game has become so global, and so reaching  that, I think the Olympic Games is a great extension of that and I’d like to be a part of it,” he added.

In terms of majors, Woods is the second-most successful male golfer of all time, with only fellow American Jack Nicklaus ahead of him on 18.

The 43-year-old, who underwent four back surgeries between 2014 and 2017, won the Masters in April, to end an 11-year wait for his 15th major.

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, has confirmed he will represent Ireland at Tokyo 2020.

Speculation had been rife in recent months about whether McIlory would opt to compete for Ireland or Britain at the Olympics, with the golf tournament scheduled between July 30 to August 8.

The Belfast native had hinted at representing Ireland ahead of the Professional Golfers’ Association Championship but confirmed his intentions in an interview with the Golf Channel.

“It was difficult up until the point when it wasn’t, if that makes sense?” McIlroy said. “I think I made it more difficult for myself than I needed to.

“My feelings toward it were—’What will other people think?’—and once I got that out of my head, and I really tried to do what was right for me, it was easy,” he said. “Even though the Olympics has given me that choice, it really wasn’t a choice.”

“Because all I’ve done all the way through my life is play for Ireland, and why would that change? All I’ve done through my whole life is play for Ireland and why would that change just because the tournament has changed? “That was my decision,” he added.

McIlroy is expected to be joined in the Irish team by Shane Lowry.

The question mark over McIlroy’s Ireland or Britain choice had arisen ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The four-time major winner’s announcement that he hopes to qualify to represent Ireland in Japan’s capital came just two years after he said he resented the Olympics and felt no connection to either the British or the Irish flag.

McIlroy declared he would play for Ireland at Rio 2016, where Justin Rose claimed the men’s gold medal for Great Britain, before citing concerns over the Zika virus as a reason for pulling out. Insidethegames

Image credits: AP


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