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Rory McIlroy reconsidering his position after reaction to comments on playing for Britain

Updated: Wednesday, 19 Sep 2012 18:04 | Comments

Rory McIlroy has stressed his desire not to alienate any section of his huge following
Rory McIlroy has stressed his desire not to alienate any section of his huge following

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.

Golf's world number one 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, partly because he received funding from the Golfing Union of Ireland before turning professional in 2007.

"I think it just really hit home with me how important it is for a lot of people" - Rory McIlroy

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 in Atlanta today: "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 here 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 groups 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.

"It's great that I get so much support. 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. Hopefully people enjoy that and the entertainment that that brings."

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