Sport

Harrington on McIlroy Olympic dilemma

Padraig Harrington of Ireland weighed in on the  issue.

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington has given his view on Rory McIlroy's Olympics dilemma, saying that he has "massive sympathy" for the Holywood man.

Wednesday, 09 January 2013
Tags:
  • golf
  • Sport

Like all Northern Ireland athletes, Rory can choose between representing Team GB or Ireland.

Having seen the reaction last Autumn to his comments that he felt "more British", Rory has indicated that he may not go to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil at all - due to the possibility of offending either side.

Speaking about the issue ahead of this week's Volvo Golf Champions, the Dublin golfer said: "I have massive sympathy as an Irishman and massive sympathy more so as a sportsman.

"No sportsman should have to make that decision. That's it, straightforward - nobody at 23 years of age should be asked to make that decision.

"And the reality is there've been people in politics for the last hundred years who have tried to negotiate that and haven't been able to. So why would you ask a 23-year-old just because he's going to hit a little white golf ball?

"It's very unfortunate and I think it is unfortunate in the sense that it means a great deal for golf for him to play.

"It's a very big deal because golf (not part of the Games for over a century) is only on a trial period in the Olympics.

"We have two runs at it and we do, as golfers, have to perform and put our best foot forward, so it would be nice if the world number one is there and he's supporting the event.

"It's an extraordinarily difficult decision. We need our best players to play in the Olympics to show that golf is serious in the Olympics.

"It would be nice if the Olympic council would say 'Here we go, you can play in the Olympics', or make the decision on their behalf.

"There's going to be no winner out of this one whatever."