Rory McIlroy keeps open mind on Rio Olympic Games loyalties

 

Rory McIlroy has admitted that the reaction to comments he made about choosing who to compete for in the 2016 Olympics is making him think again.

The world No 1 had said he was leaning towards representing Team GB rather than Ireland because "the fact is I have always felt more British than Irish". It brought criticism from some people, mainly because he received funding from the Golfing Union of Ireland before turning professional in 2007.

As an amateur he did not have to make a choice because, as in rugby, Northern Irish golfers play for Ireland.

The 23-year-old will not have to make a decision until just before the Rio Games, but he said yesterday: "After everything that happened last week it definitely makes me reconsider my position and reconsider a lot of things.

"I think it just really hit home with me how important it is for a lot of people and how important my success has been to them.

"Obviously, I've had a lot of support from all sides – from people that call themselves Irish, from Northern Irish, to the whole of the UK, to people over in the States.

"It just hit home with me at how my success is welcomed by everyone. It would be terrible for me to nearly segregate myself from one of those group that supports me so much.

"It's four years away – I still have a bit of time to decide. But, I'm very, very appreciative and very grateful of the support that I get from everyone. There are not many people in my position that have to go through what I might have to go through in four years' time, but it is what it is.

"I'm a golfer first and foremost and I just want to play well on the golf course."

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