Rory McIlroy — Getty Images
Golf is back in the Summer Olympics when the rings head to Rio de Janeiro and while most out there are excited to play for their country, the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland is unsure of who exactly he should represent, and it may lead to him just avoiding any controversy all together.
McIlroy, No. 1 in the world and a two-time major winner, told the BBC that the decision to pick Great Britain or Ireland is a tough one and he isn't sure which side to join when the Olympics begin.
“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.”
It might seem crazy to think the second biggest draw in golf (And possibly the top draw by the time 2016 rolls around) might not play because he's scared he might upset an entire group of people, but it does make sense.
Graeme McDowell, also from Northern Ireland, said recently that he wishes someone would just make the decision for them on who to play for, but why won't they have a Northern Ireland team (Ed. Note: Olympic committee wouldn't allow N.I. to have a team but that still doesn't make it sensible)? They have three recent major winners in McIlroy, McDowell and Darren Clarke, and on top of that, it allows them to actually play behind the flag that they fly at Ryder Cups (check the above picture of Rory with the Northern Ireland flag). And above all, it gives these guys the chance to play for who they should be playing for, no questions asked.
I get why Rory might skip the games in '16, but this shouldn't be on him. He's the face of a generation, but this type of pressure is even too much for someone of his stature. Changing equipment is one thing, switching countries is something completely different.
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- Rory McIlroy
- Northern Ireland