The head of Ireland’s OlympicCommittee says he will offer Rory McIlroy the chance to carry the Irish Tricolor during the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, in return for committing to playing for Ireland.
Pat Hickey, chairman of the Irish OlympicCommittee and a member of the International Olympic Committee, told the Daily Telegraph “I will say to Rory that if he declares for Ireland, then he will automatically put himself in pole position to carry the Irish Tricolor into the Olympic stadium in Rio.
“Can you just imagine what something like this would do for Rory McIlroy? It would suddenly catapult him into the realms of being one of the most instantly recognizable sporting faces on the planet. Because make no mistake about it, that’s what carrying the flag does for people.”
Hickey said McIlroy had made an immature decision when he first made a declaration two years ago that he would play for Britain and not Ireland.
“You know it was over two years ago when Rory made some rash comments about representing Team GB. I think that he was perhaps a little immature back then and although he reiterated them again recently, in his present state of mind right now, I feel that he might be thinking differently,” Hickey said.
Because he was born in Northern Ireland, McIlroy is eligible to declare for either Ireland or Britain. He caused controversy last month when he stated in an interview that he has always felt more British than Irish.
Following his comments, a major media storm developed, and McIlroy later stated that he made no decision on what team he would declare for in the 2016 Olympics.