The  brewing controversy as to which nation, if any, pro golfer Rory McIlroy will represent at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro continues to grow.

Now Irish golfer Padraig Harrington has expressed his sympathy for McIlroy’s tough decision.

"No sportsman should have to make that decision and no one at 23 years of age should have to make that decision,” said Padraig Harrington to The Irish Examiner regarding what choice McIlroy will have to make.

As a citizen of Northern Ireland, McIlroy is torn between representing either Great Britain or Ireland in the forthcoming Olympic games. 2016 is also the first year since 1924 that will see golf return as an Olympic sport to the games, thus making golf’s wunderkind’s appearance all the more profound.

Harrington continued, "The reality is that there have been people involved in politics over the last 100 years who have tried to negotiate that matter (of eligibility).”

"Why would you ask a 23-year-old that, just because he’s good a hitting a little white golf ball?" 

Padraig Harrington was a member of the panel who worked with the International Olympics Committee to see golf reinstated as an official Olympic game. 

"Golf needs Rory to play as golf is only on trial at the next two Olympics. It would be nice if Rory is there and supporting the events. Rory’s in an extraordinarily difficult position and I would hate to be in it myself." 

Irish golfers Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroyBelfast Telegraph