Golfer Rory McIlroy is at the top of his profession. He is ranked number one in the world, won yet another major championship and finished last season as the leading earner on both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists. You would think that he would be excited to represent his country in the 2016 Olympics. However, McIlroy isn’t even sure he will compete in the Olympics because he can’t decide which country to represent.
This is where he runs into quite the conundrum. McIlroy is a native of Northern Ireland – one of four constituent countries along with England, Scotland and Wales – that make up the United Kingdom. He has the choice to compete for Great Britain (all four countries combined competing as one team) or specifically for Ireland.
McIlroy isn’t quite ready to make a decision yet. Speaking to the BBC, he said, “I feel Northern Irish and obviously being from Northern Ireland you have a connection to Ireland and a connection to the UK. If I could and there was a Northern Irish team, I’d play for Northern Ireland.”
This is definitely a tricky situation for the 24 year old. National pride is something that people take incredibly seriously, and making a hasty decision could lead to McIlroy alienating a significant number of his fans.
In the end, McIlroy has to do what his gut tells him is the best decision to make after weighing the pros and cons of every choice. Luckily for him, he has some quality people around him that should be able to provide him counsel.
This is the first time that golf will be in the Olympics since 1904. The sport desperately needs all of its stars taking part in the competition. If McIlroy does not compete, you can be sure that the viewership will be significantly lower than if he were participating, no matter what side he chose.