/ Golf

Rory McIlroy in no rush to pledge allegiance to Ireland or Britain ahead of Rio 2016 Olympics

Updated: Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 15:13 | Comments

Rory McIlroy: "I am a proud product of Irish golf and the Golfing Union of Ireland. I am also a proud Ulsterman who grew up in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom. "
Rory McIlroy: "I am a proud product of Irish golf and the Golfing Union of Ireland. I am also a proud Ulsterman who grew up in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom. "

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Rory McIlroy has put talk of who he would represent at the Rio Olympics on the backburner as he looks to continue his stunning run of form.

The two-time major winner last night lifted the BMW Championship in Carmel - his second successive PGA title - but woke up to some stories about a supposed dispute over who he would turn out for when golf gains Olympic status in 2016.

Quotes attributed to the County Down-born 23-year-old said he felt "more British than Irish", suggesting he would look to be a part of the all-conquering Team GB in Brazil.

But McIlroy took to his official Twitter feed tonight to deliver a statement which said he had made no such decisions and was purely concentrating on golf.

"I am in an extremely sensitive and difficult position and I conveyed as much in a recent newspaper interview," he wrote.

"I am a proud product of Irish golf and the Golfing Union of Ireland. 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.

"I receive great support from both Irish and British fans alike and it is greatly appreciated."

Golf will be making its Games debut in Rio and although still some time away, a number of players have already been asked for their thoughts on it.

"I am in an extremely sensitive and difficult position and I conveyed as much in a recent newspaper interview," - Rory McIlroy

But with a Ryder Cup less than three weeks away, world number one McIlroy is not entertaining talk of it, or of who he will be playing for when the time comes.

"I wish to clarify I have absolutely not made a decision regarding my participation on the next Olympics," he added.

"On a personal level, playing in the Olympics would be a huge honour. However, the Games in Rio are four years away and I certainly won't be making any decisions with regard to participation any time soon.

"My focus right now is on being the best player I can be, trying to win major championships and contributing to what will hopefully be a victorious Ryder Cup side."

McIlroy's open letter ...

Having just won three of my last four tournaments, including a second major, I was hoping my success on the golf course would be the more popular topic of golfing conversation today! However, the issue of my cultural identity has re-emerged, and with it, the matter of my national allegiance ahead of the Rio Olympics in 2016.

I am in an extremely sensitive and difficult position and I conveyed as much in a recent newspaper interview. 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.

I receive huge support from both Irish and British sports fans alike and it is greatly appreciated. Likewise, I feel I have a great affinity with American sports fans. I play most of my golf in the US nowadays and I am incredibly proud to have won both the US Open and the US PGA Championship in the last two years. As an international sportsman, I am very lucky to be supported by people all over the world, many of who treat me as one of their own, no matter what their nationality, or indeed mine. That is the way sport should be.

Since turning professional at 18, I have travelled the world playing the game that I love and consider myself a global player. As the World No.1 right now, I wish to be a positive role model and a sportsperson that people respect, and enjoy watching. I feel very fortunate to be in a position to play the sport that I love professionally and to have enjoyed the success that has come my way.

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 Olympics will be great for the growth of golf on a global scale, but my focus right now is on being the best player I can be, trying to win Major Championships and contributing to what will hopefully be a victorious European side at the forthcoming Ryder Cup Matches against the USA.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for the amazing support that I receive around the world every time I play. It is hugely appreciated...

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