Rory McIlroy Ends Speculation, Decides To Represent Ireland At 2016 Rio Olympics
Rory McIlroy has announced that he "will represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016 when golf makes its return to the Games for the first time since 1904," according to Phil Casey of the BELFAST TELEGRAPH. The 25-year-old would be eligible for selection by either Great Britain or Ireland and had considered not playing at all to avoid upsetting people, but said ahead of this week's Irish Open at Fota Island that "he had made his decision." McIlroy said, "I've been thinking about it a lot, I don't know whether it's been because the World Cup has been in Brazil and I've been thinking a couple of years down the line. Thinking about all the times that I played as an amateur for Ireland and as a boy and everything, I think for me it's the right decision to play for Ireland in 2016" (BELFAST TELEGRAPH, 6/18). In Dublin, MacGinty & Riegel wrote McIlroy "insisted that it was a decision he had to take time to make but was proud to choose Ireland having been repeatedly linked with representing Great Britain in the next Olympics." The golfer "received a round of applause from the assembled Irish media." McIlroy said that while golfers are professional athletes in a sport where money and funding is important, "national representation is also something taken very seriously." McIlroy: "People think that now you are playing golf for money, I am a professional. But you have this choice or this decision to make" (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 6/18). The London TELEGRAPH reported asked if he had been "torn" on the issue, the former world No. 1 added, "More worried about what other people would think, rather than me. ... I was always very proud to put on the Irish uniform and play as an amateur and as a boy, and I would be very proud to do it again" (TELEGRAPH, 6/18).