U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy has been asked repeatedly which country he would represent in the 2016 Olympics. Should he represent Northern Ireland and Great Britain, or the Emerald Isle of Ireland?
Three-time major winner and Irishman Padraig Harrington says McIlroy should choose Great Britain. His rationale, however, is to afford more spots to the Irish at the Rio games.
'I’m fascinated with all this conversation about who we declare for. If Rory and Graeme declare for Great Britain, it means we get two more Irish guys into it,' Harrington said in an interview on The Cut Line, a program on British-based Setanta Sports.
Under the qualification system, the top 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking qualify regardless of country. After that, however, only one other player from a country may qualify for the Olympic tournament.
Harrington hypothesizes rigging the system if at least two Irishmen are in the top 15. If one is an Ulsterman and plays for Britain, then as many as four men of Irish descent could be in Rio in 2016.
'So if somebody wants Rory to be as Irish as he can be, he better declare for GB and we get two more guys in,' Harrington said.
'When it comes down to it, it will be a complete no brainer because nobody is losing out, you’re actually just gaining a couple of more spots for Irish guys.'