PGA Star Rory Mcllory Representing Ireland at 2016 Olympics Over Britain
Pro golfer Rory Mcllory has made up his mind after several moths to represent Ireland at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Even though he was born in Northern Ireland, Mcllory was eligible to play for Britain as well. However, the 25-year-old played all of his amateur golf under the Dublin-based Golfing Union of Ireland and decided to stick with them for the Olympics.
Rory has been one of the most scrutinized golfers in the last few years since Tiger Woods, with his inconsistent play on the course and his high-profile relationship with tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. The two were engaged, but Mcllory abruptly called off the engagement after seeing his wedding invitations and admitting that he was not ready to be married.
''I have been thinking about the decision a lot and remembered all the times I represented Ireland as an amateur,'' McIlroy said. ''I was always very proud to put on the Irish uniform and play as an amateur and as a boy, and I would be very proud to do it again.''
With Rory living in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, a citizen can hold both British and Irish citizenship. The Protestant majority tends to lean British, while the Catholic minority is Irish. Yahoo reported that McIlroy was raised a Catholic but grew up in the predominantly Protestant town of Holywood east of Belfast and once said he considered himself more British than Irish.
''Just because I'm getting paid to play this great game now doesn't mean I should change (teams),'' McIlroy said. ''So I'm very happy with my decision. It means I can look forward to the Olympics in a couple of years' time - you know, if I qualify, obviously, for the team. I just thought it was the right thing to do. It was the right time to let everyone know. Now I'm really looking forward to Rio in '16.''
McIlroy admitted that winning a major PGA championship would be a bigger deal than even an Olympic medal. ''The majors in our sport are the biggest and best prizes in the game,'' he said. ''But as hopefully golf grows in the Olympics and becomes, say, bigger in four or five games down the line, then it might become bigger.''