In three years, when golf returns to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Rory McIlroy could play for Ireland, Great Britain . . . or he could opt not to play in the Games at all, so as not to offend either side.
In a new BBC documentary featuring McIlroy, the 23-year-old from Holywood said: “I just think being from where we’re from, we’re placed in a very difficult position. 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.”
None of the options are very desirable for the world No. 1. This is why fellow countryman Graeme McDowell has said publicly that the International Olympic Committee should step in and resolve the debate. “I think it’s going to be a lot easier if someone makes the decision for us,” he said.
In October, the Olympic Council of Ireland president was quoted as saying that if McIlroy chose to play for Ireland at the Olympic Games, he would have the opportunity to carry the country’s flag at the opening ceremony. The OCI president later said he was misquoted.