Rory McIlroy may opt out of the next Olympic games rather than choose between Ireland and Britain.
The County Down born world number one has made the startling confession in a BBC documentary.
McIlroy has been at the centre of an Olympic row ahead of golf’s return to the games in Brazil.
He provoked a furore last year when he admitted in one interview that he feels more British than Irish.
His latest comments have added fuel to the storm with the 23-year-old revealing he may skip the games altogether.
McIlroy 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 carefully.”
Golf is set to return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 in Brazil.
The Irish Sun newspaper reports on previous comments from McIlroy in relation to his Olympic dilemma.
In 2009 McIlroy stated that he would ‘probably play for Great Britain.’ When he repeated those feelings in an interview last year he later said that he regretted doing so.
Speaking in 2012, the two-time Major champion said: “It was a moment, I don’t want to say of weakness, but of frustration with it all.
“People tune in to watch me play on TV and feel they are connected to me in some way. I don’t want to repay them for their support with something they don’t want me to do.”
The BBC documentary also features an interview with McIlroy’s tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.
She said: “It’s good that we both have our own separate careers. We know how the other is feeling and the drive to always want to improve at sport, but one of us isn’t sitting at home waiting for the other.
“People watch him play and win all these tournaments, but he hasn’t changed a bit.”
McIlroy will return to action at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on January 17 when his new megabucks sponsorship deal with Nike is expected to be unveiled.