Rory McIlroy believes he might only get two attempts to win an Olympic medal if the sport’s return to the Games proves to be short lived.
While some top stars have opted not to compete in Rio in August, four-times major winner McIlroy says he will be going all out to win.
“I might look back in 20 years’ time and a gold medal might be one of my crowning achievements,” said McIlroy.
Golf is being included in the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh have all made themselves unavailable for selection for this summer’s Games.
And this week Australian Marc Leishman has pulled out of the Rio tournament over concerns about the Zika virus.
McIlroy said in January that major championships would always be more important to him than an Olympic medal.
But the 27-year-old Northern Irishman explained why he would be playing in Rio.
“Two reasons. Because of how it’s being approached in golf circles, it’s being played in Rio this year and Tokyo in 2020.
“But I’m not sure if we’re going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after that, depending on what happens.
“The second thing is that Paul McGinley is the Irish team captain and he is so into it.
“He’s more into it than I am quite honestly. I would feel like I am not only letting him down, I’d let the country down as well.
“Paul is a very close friend of mine and if I didn’t play I would let him down big time.
“That’s why I want to go and give it my best shot.
“It is an opportunity to do something you’ve never done before.
“I get that a lot of players aren’t playing because of family matters and other things, but while I don’t have those issues of a family it’s a good opportunity.
“If nothing else it will be a great experience.”
McIlroy is defending his title in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow this week.