| Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, watches his tee shot on the seventh hole during
the third round of the PGA golf tournament in Carmel, Ind (Photo: AP)
Let’s not wrap the green flag around Rory McIlroylike many pundits want to do.
The lad would prefer to play for Britain and not Ireland, that much is clear.
Why not let him and just accept his preferences.
When Northern Ireland players like Darren Gibson opt out of Northern Ireland’s soccer team and declare for the Republic no one in the south appears to complain.
What goes around comes around.
Sure, Rory McIlroy is aCatholic but according to the latest opinion poll, about 30 percent of Catholicswould vote against a united Ireland if the vote came tomorrow.
So Rory is one of those 30 percent, middle class Catholics in the main, who since the peace process has done well in Northern Ireland.
Good luck to them and to Rory I say. The notion of being both British and Irish has a long history in Ireland.
Look at Daniel Day Lewis as just one example.
So why should the reverse not be extended to Catholics who want to be British first as Rory clearly does?
Here in America we are aware of all kinds of dual identity. Most Americans are something else, whether it is Irish, Italian, Hispanic, or whatever.
Truth is we slice and dice identity at will.
Rory has played under the tricolor at the World Cup of golf so why should he not play under the Union Jack at the Olympics?
The magnificent thing about sport is that it knows no boundaries. I cheered my heart out for Scot Andy Murray because he deserved a grand slam win at the US Open and he thankfully got one after years of frustration.
It mattered not a whit to me whether he spoke with an Irish, American, or Scottish accent.
It will be the same for most sports followers when Rory McIlroytees off in the majors or the Olympics. Sportsmen are not politicians; they should not be even indulging in that arena.
McIlroy is Irish and British and the best in the world – enough said.