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Tricolor or Union Jack? Irish golfer Rory McIlroy says he'd play for Britain in Olympic golf

Olympic gold or Irish green? Top golfer McIlroy says 'What's Ireland?'

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Tricolor or Union Jack? Irish golfer Rory McIlroy says he'd play for Britain in Olympic golf

We know what color golf phenom Rory McIlroy prefers, and it isn't the green of his homeland. No, Rory only sees gold. Olympic gold.

McIlroy says he'll play for Britain if golf is brought back to the Olympics for 2016.

The 20-year-old, who starred in the Britain and Ireland win over the rest of Europe in the Vivendi Trophy last week, says it's an awkward question, but even so, he would still pick Britain.

"I'd probably play for Great Britain. I have a British passport. It's a bit of an awkward question still. It would be huge to play in an Olympics. I'd love to get an Olympic gold medal one day," he said.

There is little doubt, though, that McIlroy will transcend his sport in this country at least. A Catholic, Rory McIlroy is clearly proud of his Irishness. This week, when talking about his aspirations for the year, he mentioned winning the Open.

"It would be nice to keep that run going: Harrington, Harrington . . . keep the claret jug in the country for another while," he said.

Golf and rugby are two sports where the international team comes from the island of Ireland as opposed to the Republic of Ireland /Northern Ireland split.

The World Cup of golf is an event where no disctintion is made and the team represesnts the 32 counties. This year, the Irish team will be made up of McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, who both come from Northern Ireland.

In the same interview, McDowell agreed it was a "strange matter."

"It's a strange one. Golf's an all-Ireland sport. I'd play for anyone. I've never been able to explain why golf's an all-Ireland sport and rugby's an all-Ireland sport but soccer is two different teams. It'd be an honor to represent your country and I don't mind which one I play for.”

In recent years the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has made efforts to recognize that players come from the Republic and Northern Ireland, most notably with the addition of Ireland’s call, a song that is sung at every game after the Irish national anthem, Amhran na bhFiann.

For the Olympics, athletes from Northern Ireland can elect whether they want to represent the Republic of Ireland team or the Great Britain and Ireland team. 

Paddy Barnes, who won a bronze medal for Ireland in the light flyweight division at the Beijing Olympics last year, is from Belfast.

Under the terms of the Good Friday agreement, a resident in Northern Ireland is entitled to dual citizenship.

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