Published Monday, 10 September 2012
Rory McIlroy has spoken on the Team GB v Team Ireland debate. (© Getty)
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.
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.
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