Rory McIlroy, a native of Holywood in Co Down, Northern Ireland, may not have to choose between Ireland and Great Britain for which nation he wants to represent in the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Guardian reports that Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, said that McIlroy may not be forced into choosing, rather that a regulation will make the decision for him.
In January, McIlroy had indicated that he may even opt out of the Olympics in 2016 altogether in order to avoid any major backlash following his decision. He told the BBC, “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.”
However, Dawson, speaking to a group of select journalists, has now said, “Because of Rory’s history of playing for Ireland at amateur level and at World Cup level there may be a regulation within the Olympic rules which would determine who he would have to play for.”
“We are still looking at the matter but under that regulation he could play under Irish colours.”
“It’s quite ambiguous as there are regulations within the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that if you play previous world championships for a certain country that has to carry with you.”
“So the question is, is the World Cup of Golf a world championship and so on. Golf isn’t structured in the same way as it is with other sports.”
“But I would very much like to take this burden of choice away from the player, if possible, because it’s not fair.”
“I think Rory has made it pretty clear, and what I have heard privately he is worried about it and the last thing we want is a player worrying about it.”
Currently, McIlroy is ranked number two in the world. Golf is returning to the Olympics in 2016 for the first time since 1904.