US PGA Championship: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy eye Olympic debuts in 2020

Tuesday May 14 2019

Tiger Woods (right) of the United States smiles with Pat Perez of the United States on the practice green during a practice round prior to the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 14, 2019 in Bethpage, New York. PHOTO | MIKE EHRMANN |

Tiger Woods (right) of the United States smiles with Pat Perez of the United States on the practice green during a practice round prior to the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 14, 2019 in Bethpage, New York. PHOTO | MIKE EHRMANN |  AFP

BBC SPORT
By BBC SPORT
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Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are both keen to make their Olympic debuts at Tokyo 2020 next summer.

Woods, who ended his 11-year wait for a major at last month's Masters, missed golf's return to the programme at Rio 2016 after struggling with injury.

Meanwhile, McIlroy opted to represent Ireland but later pulled out because of concerns about the Zika virus.

"Would I like to play in the Olympics? Yes," said Woods, speaking before this week's US PGA Championship.

"I've never played and I'm not sure how many opportunities I will have going forward as I'm 43 now.

"It would be a first for me. Getting there and making the team would be the tough part. If I play well in the big events, like I did this year, things will take care of themselves."

McIlroy, born in Northern Ireland, said following the Games that he "resents" the Olympics for making him choose between Britain or Ireland.

But on Wednesday, the 30-year-old said it was "more likely than not" he would play in Japan next year and it would "be a great experience".

He added: "I think as a young boy it was always my dream to play for Ireland. I wanted to play for Ireland. I was very proud to put on that shirt or that blazer.

"When you put Olympics into the equation there's a choice to be made. You have to start thinking: what are your beliefs and your values?

"You have to delve a little deeper, it's not just superficial decision, it's something you have to really believe in and I've thought about that for a long time."
Woods 'rested and ready' for US PGA

Woods has not played competitively since winning his fifth Green Jacket last month, but the American says he feels "rested and ready" heading to Bethpage Black for what is now the second major of the year.

"I wanted to play at Quail Hollow (a fortnight ago) but I was not mentally prepared to log in the hours," added the world number six, who has won the US PGA Championship on four occasions.

"That's the interesting thing going forward: how much do I play and how much do I rest?

"I think I have done the leg work over the last 12 to 18 months. The body doesn't bounce back as well as it used to and I am aware of that."

Woods said he felt his swing had "finally turned a corner" before his Masters victory.

However, he is wary of the formidable par-70 course Long Island course, the site of his 2002 US Open victory, and is unlikely to be able to escape errant tee shots in the way he managed at Augusta.

"In order to win this one, driving is going to be at the forefront with the rough as lush as it is," he said.

"It's great to be part of the narrative. My narrative spans just over 20 years now.

"You're measured in decades, because of the nature of the sport we're able to hang around a lot longer and still be relevant."

Koepka not afraid of Woods

Defending champion Brooks Koepka has set himself the target of winning at least 10 majors, after claiming back-to-back US Opens and winning last year's US PGA Championship.

"I think sometimes the majors are the easiest ones to win," said the 29-year-old.

"Half the people shoot themselves out of it, and mentally I know I can beat most of them, and then from there it's those guys left, who's going to play good and who can win.

"I don't see any reason it can't get to double digits."

The American finished runner-up to Woods at Augusta last month, but says he does not fear the 15-time major champion after being paired with him and Open champion Francesco Molinari for the first two rounds.

"I mean, what's the point in fearing anybody? We're not fighting," said Koepka, the world number three.

"He's not going to knock my teeth in. He's not going to hurt me. So what's there to be afraid of?

"It is fun to play against him - the best player to ever play the game, and you guys (the media) wanting to talk about rivalry, I think that's pretty cool to hear.

"It's exciting for me. It'll definitely be interesting. But I'm just looking forward to this week, to playing with him."

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