Rory McIlroy said the involvement of Neil Manchip as team leader and the probable involvement of Shane Lowry in Ireland's Olympic team for Tokyo 2020 were factors in his decision to declare for the country. 

At yesterday's press conference ahead of the USPGA Championship in Bethpage, New York, McIlroy said he would more than likely compete at the Tokyo Olympics and was intent on representing Ireland.

McIlroy had been scheduled to play the 2016 Games in Rio but withdrew beforehand, citing concerns over the Zika virus. He admitted subsequently that being forced into a choice as to which country he would represent had left him resentful over the whole saga and golf's place in the Olympics. 

Speaking to RTÉ Sport's Greg Allen in New York, McIlroy said he had to operate in a "sensitive landscape" and acknowledged that the involvement of Neil Manchip, his former coach from his amateur days, and his friendship with Shane Lowry were factors in his eventual decision. 

"It's a sensitive landscape that I have to try to walk here. Unfortunately, the part of the world that I'm from, one decision is going to make some people happy and it's going to disappoint others. That's just the way it is. It's the world that I live in I guess.

"Neil, and hopefully Shane, make the team. Whoever my partner is is going to be great. But I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a new experience. It'll be a cool thing to be a part of."

McIlroy said at his press conference that it was always his dream to play for Ireland, noting that golf is organised on an All-Ireland basis and citing the example of Ulster's rugby players, who dream of playing for their province and dream of playing for Ireland.

However, the Down-born golfer admitted to RTÉ Sport that he wasn't particularly aware of the significance of an Olympic gold medal in Ireland, pointing out that he had never figured golf would one day feature in the Olympic games and that his childhood ambitions revolved around the major championships. 

"Seeing that golf is in the Olympics and I'm one of the best players in the world, it'll be a cool thing to go and do. With the schedule, it's not as if I'll be able to go and enjoy the two or three weeks. I'll miss the opening ceremony because I'll be in Memphis.

"I never grew up dreaming of it. I dreamed of Claret Jugs, I dreamed of green jackets, I dreamed of US Open trophies. That is a deep belief ingrained in me that the major championships are the pinnacle of our sport, which I still believe they are.

"But that doesn't mean I'm not going to go there and try my heart out and try to win a golf tournament."