McIlroy Open Letter Indicates Team GB Future
Rory McIlroy - in an open letter released on his twitter account - has offered his strongest hint yet that he will represent Team GB at any future Olympics. As opposed to the Republic of Ireland. He is in a difficult position, having represented Ireland in a World Cup. Golf will be introduced as an Olympic sport at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He appears to feel his cultural identity is British.
Especially if recent quotes appearing in the Daily Mail can be believed.
“The fact is, I've always felt more British than Irish.”
This issue shouldn’t overshadow McIlroy’s recent successes. He has won two successive PGA tour events. The Deutsche Bank Open in Boston followed by the BMW Championship in Indiana.
Two crucial victories that help bolster his position at the top of the rankings.
And yet the thorny issue of his identity has come up yet again. Some fans will be disappointed no matter what McIlroy’s decision turns out to be.
It is a shame. Such a talent as McIlroy’s should unite fans in admiration rather than divide them along national lines.
Here is Rory McIlroy’s open letter in full:
"Having just won three out of my last four tournaments, including a second major championship, 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 ... 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. 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 like 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. As an international sportsman, I am very lucky to be supported by people all over the world, many of whom treat me as one of their own, no matter what their nationality, or indeed mine. This is the way sport should be.
"Since turning pro at 18 I have travelled the world playing the game I love and I consider myself a global player. As the world No. 1 right now, I wish to be a positive role model and sports person that people respect, and enjoy watching.
"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 Ryder Cup."
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