Rory McIlroy says it’s very unlikely that he will compete at the 2020 Olympics.

The County Down golfer was due to represent Ireland in Rio last summer as the sport made a return to the Games after 112 years.

However, the four-time major winner pulled out citing fears over the Zika virus as the reason, but in an interview with the Sunday Independent at the weekend, detailed that the real reason was a conflict over being seen to pick one country over another.

"Not everyone is driven by nationalism and patriotism," he explained.

And in an interview with the BBC, McIlroy suggested that he will avoid a repeat of the scenario in four years’ time.

“I'm a very conflicted person and not a lot of people understand that maybe,” said the 27-year-old.

“But it's the way I feel and I know that most people think that that is wrong. But it's the way I feel and I can't really help it, I guess.

"More likely than not I won't be going to the Games in 2020, just because of my personal feelings towards - not the Olympic Games, the Olympic Games are great and I think golf included in the Olympic Games is fantastic.

“But just for me it's just something I just don't want to get into and that's a personal choice and hopefully people respect that decision." 

Meanwhile, the world number two begins the new year undecided on what clubs he will play, but insists the player rather than the equipment is more important.

McIlroy is among a number of top stars who have been forced into a change following Nike's withdrawal from the club manufacturing market.

McIlroy has been testing a number of options and will start this week's BMW SA Open with Callaway woods and irons, Titleist wedges and balls and a Scotty Cameron putter.

The reigning Irish Open champion has been here before, however. In 2013 he struggled for form immediately after changing clubs as part of signing a multi-million pound deal with Nike.

However, McIlroy admitted that his set-up could change on a regular basis until he settles on a favourite combination.

"They are picked for this week but that could change week to week," he told a press conference.

"This is my first event with those clubs so we will see how it goes this week.

"You never really know until you have a card in your hand and at the end of the day the person swinging the club is more important than the club itself."

McIlroy is playing for the first time since finishing ninth at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and even on his arrival in South Africa he chose to spend four days on safari before heading to the tournament, hosted by Ernie Els, at Glendower Golf Club in Gauteng.

However, he brushed aside suggestions - considering his equipment issues - he was under-prepared.

McIlroy will point to recent history - he has finished in the top five in his first outing of the new year in the last eight years apart from 2013 - as justification of his methods.

"I spent a week in Dubai before Christmas testing a lot of equipment and hitting a lot of balls and training," he added.

"I had a week off from December 20 to 27 and then went back to Dubai and worked solid for 10 days till I came down here.

"I have been practising in the Middle East for the past week or so, although I have spent the last few days here on safari so hadn't hit a ball for four days.

"I am in competitive mode but we also wanted to go into the bush for a few days which might have made me a little rusty but I can shake that off before Thursday.

"The first couple of holes (of his practice round) weren't great but once I got into my rhythm it was okay.

"I am here to play well and get my confidence up."