• Rio 2016

McIlroy ready to shun Rio 2016 Olympics

ESPN staff
January 3, 2013

Rory McIlroy is ready to overlook the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in order to avoid upsetting a section of his fans by picking a country to represent.

McIlroy, currently the world No. 1, has a decision to make if he is to compete in Rio, with Great Britain and Republic of Ireland options open to him.

Born in County Down in Northern Ireland, McIlroy has reason to represent both Great Britain and Ireland, and he sparked controversy at the back end of 2012 when saying, "I have always felt more of a connection with the UK than with Ireland".

McIlroy later wrote an open letter to attempt to explain his position, saying: "I receive huge support from both Irish and British sports fans alike and it is greatly appreciated. Likewise, I feel like I have a great affinity with American sports fans. I wish to clarify that I have absolutely not made a decision regarding my participation in the next Olympics."

Now it appears that McIlroy may choose to opt out altogether when golf features in the Olympics for the first time since 1904. The personal landmark of becoming an Olympian may prove of lesser importance than McIlroy's respect for his fans, it appears.

"I just think being from where we're from, we're placed in a very difficult position," McIlroy told the BBC. 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."

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