Rory McIlroy says he resented how the Olympics forced him to decide whether he would represent Ireland or Britain and that it reached a point that it "wasn't worth the hassle" to compete in Rio de Janeiro.
In an interview with the Sunday Independent in Ireland, McIlroy explained why he was so critical of golf's return to the Olympics during a press conference at last summer's British Open.
He told the Irish newspaper that when the International Olympic Committee announced in 2009 that golf would be part of the program for the first time since 2004, "all of a sudden it put me in a position where I had to question who I am."
"Who am I? Where am I from? Where do my loyalties lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to (upset) the most?" McIlroy said. "I started to resent it. And I do. I resent the Olympic Games because of the position it put me in. That's my feelings toward it. And whether that's right or wrong, that's how I feel."
McIlroy said he sent a text message to Justin Rose to congratulate him on winning the gold medal in Rio for Britain. He said Rose thanked him and asked if McIlroy felt as though he had missed out.
"I said, ‘Justin, if I had been on the podium (listening) to the Irish national anthem as that flag went up, or the British national anthem as that flag went up, I would have felt uncomfortable either way.'" McIlroy told the newspaper. "I don't know the words to either anthem. I don't feel a connection to either flag. I don't want it to be about flags. I've tried to stay away from that."