McIlroy tweets letter on nationality

Published Monday, 10 September 2012
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Co Down golfer Rory McIlroy has tweeted an open letter on his Team GB versus Team Ireland dilemma, confirming he has yet to make a decision on the issue of his national allegiance.

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The letter, in which he expresses disappointment that the debate has overtaken his latest golfing achievements, comes after he gave the clearest sign yet that he would choose Team GB.

The 23-year-old has long refused to be drawn on the controversial issue, but knows it isn't something he'll be able to avoid indefinitely - given that golf will be part of the 2016 Olympics.

Paying tribute to the many fans from around the world who have supported him, regardless of their nationality or his, McIlroy said: "This is the way sport should be."

Whatever I do, I know my decision is going to upset some people but I just hope the vast majority will understand.

Rory McIlroy

He added: "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."

In an earlier interview with the Daily Mail, McIlroy pointed out the difficult position he was in but admitted: "I've always felt more British than Irish."

Coming from Northern Ireland, McIlroy would be eligible to declare for either Team GB or Team Ireland and - if he intends to compete in Rio four years from now - he will have to make a decision.

"I have travelled the world playing the game that I love and consider myself a global player," McIlroy further said.

"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 ...

"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."

The Games in Rio are still four years away and I certainly won't be making any decisions any time soon.

Rory McIlroy

For now, he's chilling out in New York after three wins out of his last four starts - racking up a cool $2.7m in the past month alone. That's over €2,500 a shot.

At just 23, McIlroy has already picked up six wins in the US - the same number that the likes of the legendary Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo managed in their entire careers.

He's back in action in Atlanta next week, where the jackpot is worth over €7.15m.

He is now one of just six Europeans left in the running for the FedEx Cup, alongside Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Carl Pettersson.

© UTV News
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77 Comments
Gee Whizz in Armagh wrote (578 days ago):
It's only because of religion a lot of people are truly getting worked up over this. If Rory swung his golf club the other way, a lot of people in the South would not be getting so pent up about it. But there is a significant undercurrent of opinion that to be 'properly' Irish you've got to play the game on the 'left'.
S.B. in Belfast wrote (579 days ago):
There seems to be a lot of discomfort, indeed anger, within a lot of the Southern golfing fraternity and sporting media at Rory's interview. He seems to have alienated quite a few of them as he came through Irish golf which is a 32 county sport and many would have thought that he should naturally represent Ireland as a golfer in the Olympics. To say what he did annoyed a lot of people North and South and there's no doubt, going by many of the comments on other websites, that he will lose a lot of support on the island of Ireland if he does compete for Britain. I would also have thought that an Irish identity would be far better for him business and socially wise in the United States where he spends a lot of his time. He could also alienate the Irish American golf fans there too.
carlos in belfast wrote (580 days ago):
Wouldnt worry about which he decides on hes raking in the dough so no doubt he'll move out to some tax haven
Irish in Northern Ireland, Supports Team Ireland in Ireland wrote (580 days ago):
Ahh Mark did you have to go and google it to check are we included. Bless. Although it does say, The brand is seen as controversial by some for focussing on Great Britain, at the expense of Northern Ireland, with critics suggesting it be changed to Team UK, something the BOA has so far rejected. Thats right they rejected Team UK at our expense. I don't feel included........
Joe in London wrote (580 days ago):
People that think like you come from N.I only. You need something to hold onto, you are all confused in that little country, fighting each other costing my country billions to run. The taxes you pay in N.I would not cover your security costs. Independence is whats best for your country for all its people, and mine of course. I see myself as ENGLISH. And yes i love the Queen of England. Stop draining the London taxpayer....
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