McIlroy to play for Ireland in 2016 Olympic Games


With six words on Wednesday, Rory McIlroy ended all speculation as to which country he will represent at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“I’m going to play for Ireland.”

As a native of Northern Ireland, McIlroy had the option of competing, if he qualifies, for Ireland or Great Britain, with the impending decision reportedly causing plenty of consternation for the 25-year-old in recent years.

"I see this as a continuation of what I have always done," he said in advance of this week’s Irish Open.

McIlroy previously represented Ireland during international amateur events.

"I have been thinking about it a lot. I don't know if it is because the World Cup is in Brazil and I was thinking a couple of years down the line,” he explained. "I was thinking about all the times I have played for Ireland as a boy.”

The decision had been weighing so heavily on McIlroy’s mind that he previously hinted he would skip the Olympic tournament altogether.

"I just think being from where we're from, we're placed in a very difficult position,” he told the BBC in January. “I feel Northern Irish and obviously being from Northern Ireland you have a connection to Ireland and a connection to the UK. If I could and there was a Northern Irish team, I'd play for Northern Ireland.

"Play for one side or the other – or not play at all because I may upset too many people. Those are my three options I'm considering very carefully."

In September, 2012, McIlroy made headlines when he speculated that he’d compete for Great Britain instead of Ireland.

“The fact is, I’ve always felt more British than Irish,” he told the Daily Mail. “Maybe it was the way I was brought up, I don’t know, but I have always felt more of a connection with the UK than with Ireland. And so I have to weigh that up against the fact that I’ve always played for Ireland and so it is tough. Whatever I do, I know my decision is going to upset some people but I just hope the vast majority will understand.”

Golf is scheduled to rejoin the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August, 2016, for the first time in 112 years.