• Rio 2016

McIlroy can be Ireland's Olympic flagbearer

ESPN staff
October 9, 2012
Rory McIlroy will likely have a dilemma in four years' time © Getty Images

Ireland's Olympic committee are attempting to persuade Rory McIlroy to commit to them for Rio 2016 by dangling the carrot of him carrying the flag at the opening ceremony.

Golf will return to the Olympics in 2016, for the first time since 1904, and McIlroy has found himself at the centre of a tug o' war. The Ulsterman is eligible for both Ireland and Great Britain and has spoken openly about the dilemma that faces him.

McIlroy has claimed to feeling "more British than Irish", but he has represented Ireland in team events and Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, is desperate for the world No. 1 to pledge his allegiance to the Emerald Isle.

"I will say to Rory that if he declares for Ireland, then he will automatically put himself in pole position to carry the Irish tricolour into the Olympic stadium in Rio," Hickey told the Daily Telegraph.

"What he has done on the world stage for Irish golf is absolutely astonishing. Personally, I would dearly love for him to represent Ireland.

"You know it was over two years ago when Rory made some rash comments about representing Team GB. I think that he was perhaps a little immature back then and although he reiterated them again recently, in his present state of mind right now, I feel that he might be thinking differently."

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