WORLD No1 Rory McIlroy last night denied he had already decided to represent Great Britain rather than Ireland when golf is introduced at the next Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, but admitted facing “a hugely sensitive and difficult position”.
The Northern Irishman, who continued his superb year by winning the BMW Championship in America on Sunday, posted an open letter on Twitter after remarks made in a weekend interview suggested he would opt to join the British team.
“I am in an extremely sensitive and difficult position and conveyed as much in a recent newspaper interview,” McIlroy wrote.
“I am a proud product of Irish Golf and the Golfing Union of Ireland and am hugely honoured to have come from very rich Irish sporting roots, winning Irish boys, youths and amateur titles and playing for Ireland at all levels. I am also a proud Ulsterman who grew up in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. That is my background and always will be.”
He added: “I wish to clarify that I have absolutely not made a decision regarding my participation in the next Olympics. On a personal level, playing in the Olympics would be a huge honour. However, the Games in Rio are still four years away and I certainly won’t be making any decisions with regards to participating any time soon.”
The 23-year-old from Holywood, County Down, said at the weekend: “The fact is I’ve always felt more British than Irish.” He added: “Whatever I do, I just hope the vast majority will understand.”