Skip to content

Padraig Harrington goes to bat for Rory

Jan 9, 2013, 4:44 PM EST

Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

World No. 1 golfer, Rory McIlroy is already threatening to sit out the 2016 Rio Games due to pressure over whether he’ll play for Ireland or Great Britain. Now, champion Irish golfer Padraig Harrington is speaking out for the 23-year-old, saying that the IOC needs to make the call, or else everyone will miss out on Rory’s talents.

“I have massive sympathy as an Irishman and massive sympathy more so as a sportsman,” Harrington told the Belfast Telegraph. “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.”

Harrington added that that since golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time in more than a century, it will need the exploits of top young players like McIlroy to drive the storylines, bring in the audience, and prove that their sport belongs on podium along with the rest.

“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.”

Latest Posts
  1. Rio Olympic Park construction progress (photos)

    Nov 28, 2014, 2:57 PM EST

    Rio Olympic Park

    How the venues for basketball, swimming and other sports are coming along.

  2. Mikaela Shiffrin: ‘I’m trying to show people what’s not impossible’

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:33 AM EST

    Mikaela Shiffrin Getty Images

    The youngest Olympic slalom champion tries to emulate one skier above all the rest — an Olympic men’s champion.

  3. Four-year ban sought for Carolina Kostner

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:17 AM EST

    Carolina Kostner Getty Images

    Kostner, the Olympic and World figure skating bronze medalist, is taking this season off.

  4. Seb Coe outlines concerns for track and field, eyes IAAF presidency

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:01 AM EST

    Seb Coe Getty Images

    Coe sees problems with the World Championships and Diamond League.

  5. Iouri Podladtchikov out after ankle surgery

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:41 AM EST

    Iouri Podladtchikov Getty Images

    Olympic champion’s status for World Championships in January is unclear.

  6. Gracie Gold leads NHK Trophy; Yuzuru Hanyu struggles

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    Gracie Gold Getty Images

    Grand Prix final picture includes plenty of Americans.

  7. Rio Olympic golf course work can continue, judge orders

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:42 AM EST

    Rio Olympic golf course AP

    Legal battle may not be finished, however.

  8. Sapporo mayor plans 2026 Winter Olympic bid

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:24 AM EST

    Sapporo Getty Images

    Japanese site could break a 46-year Winter Olympic streak.

  9. Viktor Tikhonov tribute held at hockey arena (video)

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:47 AM EST

    Viktor Tikhonov Getty Images

    Tikhonov died earlier this week at 84 after a long illness.

  10. Ted Ligety (wrist) out this weekend

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:15 AM EST

    Ted Ligety Getty Images

    Olympic champion hopes to return for Beaver Creek next weekend.

  11. NBC Sports, Universal to air unprecedented U.S. ski, snowboard coverage this season

    Nov 26, 2014, 1:06 PM EST

    Ted Ligety Getty Images

    Full schedule of coverage across World Cups, Grand Prix events and World Championships.

  12. U.S. figure skaters officially bronze medalists, 50 years later

    Nov 26, 2014, 7:42 AM EST

    Vivian Joseph, Ronald Joseph Getty Images

    Sister-brother team had bronze medals, but the official results didn’t reflect that until Tuesday.

  13. Katie Ledecky faces decisions in 2015, 2016

    Nov 25, 2014, 10:46 AM EST

    Katie Ledecky Getty Images

    Scheduling conflicts, another new event?

  14. Rio Olympic commemorative coins to be issued

    Nov 25, 2014, 9:27 AM EST

    Rio Olympic coins

    Christ the Redeemer, Olympic motto honored on the coins.

  15. Michael Phelps back in the pool; Phelps, Ledecky win Golden Goggles

    Nov 24, 2014, 10:23 PM EST

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Phelps is working toward 2015 goals, a North Baltimore official said.

  16. Pat Quinn, who coached Canada to gold in 2002, dies at 71

    Nov 24, 2014, 11:25 AM EST

    Pat Quinn Getty Images

    Canada won its first men’s hockey Olympic gold in 50 years under Quinn.

  17. Claressa Shields, Marlen Esparza win World Boxing Championships

    Nov 24, 2014, 10:11 AM EST

    Claressa Shields Getty Images

    Olympic champion Shields was named the tournament’s best overall boxer.

  18. Viktor Tikhonov, Soviet Union Olympic hockey coach, dies at 84

    Nov 24, 2014, 9:17 AM EST

    Viktor Tikhonov Getty Images

    Tikhonov led the Soviets in the Miracle on Ice game.