McIlroy nails his Olympic colours to the Irish mast
The Co Down golfer to represent Ireland at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
Rory McIlroy has decided to play with Ireland for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The world number 6 had come under pressure to make a decision between Ireland and Britain. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy will wrap the green flag around him after all for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The 25-year-old Northern Irishman - who was also eligible to represent Great Britain - has decided he will compete for Ireland in two years time after taking his time to come to what he called “the right decision.”
In pointing out that other sports like rugby and cricket were also all-island sports, McIlroy - a two-time Major champion and currently ranked number six in the official world rankings - made the announcement today on the eve of the Irish Open at Fota Island where he is the headline attraction.
McIlroy, who won a European Team Championship with Ireland as an amateur, said: “There is no point in delaying it, letting it linger any longer. I was watching the (soccer) World Cup in Brazil thinking about (theOlympics) in Brazil in a couple of years time and it got me thinking that I should go ahead and get it out of the way; I really look forward to the Olympics in a couple of years time.”
In coming to the decision, McIlroy said it was one he had come to make on his own rather than taking advice from others. “I had a lot of time on my own over the last few weeks and I have been thinking about it a lot.
“It’s something that would be quite important to me. I needed to make some sort of decision, some sort of stand. I weighed up everything. I was thinking back about the times I was playing for Ireland, won a European Team Championship. I won a lot of great amateur titles representing Ireland so I thought why change that? To me it is just a continuation of what I have always done.”
“A lot of people have given their opinion on what they think I should do. But at the end of the day it is a decision I had to make for myself; it is not something that anyone can make for me. I didn’t want anyone to make it for me. Peter Dawson (of the R&A) when he came out and said, whatever he said last year;
I still didn’t want the decision to be made for me. It was a decision I felt I needed to make for myself. It is a decision that you have to live with, it is own right to have that decision. It was basically all mine and it has taken it long enough to sort of get over the hurdle. It is definitely the right decision.”
McIlroy said the option of not playing was not one he had considered, given that golf needs to have its very best players available for the return of the sport to the Olympics and to “grow the game.”