Britain the 'logical' choice for McIlroy
Golf:Pádraig Harrington has reaffirmed his belief Rory McIlroy should declare for Britain at the 2016 Olympics in order to get as many golfers from the island of Ireland playing in the Games. Speaking after he shot of round of 67 to lie one shot off the clubhouse lead at the World Tour Championship, the Dubliner conceded that he did not envy McIlroy his decision.
However, he said the “logical” choice would be for McIlroy to represent Britain, and in doing so free up a place on the Irish team for another Irish golfer. As things currently stand, the player who would benefit would be Shane Lowry, due to his position in the world rankings and there is a certain merit to Harrington’s argument. But the Dubliner freely admits logic will go out the window whatever McIlroy chooses to do.
“Politicians in the north and south have been trying to answer that question (of identity) since 1922,” Harrington explained in an interview with David Livingstone on Sky Sports. “If they haven’t managed to successfully answer the question, how can you ask a 23-year-old to put himself out there on a limb. But unfortunately in 2016 it will come around.
“The selection process does lean a little in favour of those in Ireland. Say, at the moment if Rory declared for the UK it would mean his good friend Shane Lowry would get into the Irish team. Whereas, if Rory declares for Ireland Shane Lowry – his management stablemate and a friend of his – wouldn’t get to play in the Olympics.
“So there is a logical way of going about it.”
McIlroy suggested in September that he was leaning towards declaring for Britain – having always felt “more British than Irish” – but subsequently insisted no decision has been made after receiving a torrent of abuse. It’s a no-win situation that Harrington is thankful he won’t find himself in, with McIlroy unable to please all of the people, all of the time.
“There’s no correct answer, there really isn’t,” he added. “Unfortunately, if he says he’s going to play for Ireland he’ll alienate a lot of people from Northern Ireland. If he says he’s playing for Britain he’ll alienate a lot of people in the south. There is no correct answer whatsoever. It’s a horrible place to be. I don’t think anybody would like to have to make that decision, or be in his boots when it comes to it.
“But I guess that’s what being the world number one is all about. That’s why he gets paid the big bucks, to make these hard decisions at times. But I’m glad I don’t have to.”