Skip to content

Rory McIlroy will represent Ireland at 2016 Olympics

Jun 18, 2014, 9:36 AM EDT

Rory McIlroy Getty Images

Rory McIlroy decided he will represent Ireland rather than Great Britain should he play at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” McIlroy reportedly said ahead of this week’s Irish Open on Wednesday. “I don’t know whether it’s been because the World Cup has been in Brazil and I’ve been thinking a couple of years down the line.

“Thinking about all the times that I played as an amateur for Ireland and as a boy and everything, I think for me it’s the right decision to play for Ireland in 2016.”

McIlroy is from Northern Ireland, which does not field a separate Olympic Team. Northern Ireland athletes have been known to compete for Great Britain, such as Beijing track cycling silver medalist Wendy Houvenaghel, or for Ireland, as 2010 U.S. Open winning golfer Graeme McDowell is expected to do.

McIlroy’s long-awaited decision was a difficult one, as he has shied away from talking about the subject over the last couple years. International Golf Federation officials said in May they wanted the nationality policy in place by July, two years before the Olympic golf fields are determined.

McIlroy, 25, is a two-time major champion and ranked No. 6 in the world. His path to qualifying for the Olympics is easier as an Irish golfer than a British one.

The Olympic golf field will invite everybody from the world top 15, with no more than four players per nation, from the world rankings in July 2016. Beyond the top 15, the field will be filled according to the rankings with a maximum of two players per country that does not already have two or more in the top 15.

McIlroy is currently the No. 1 golfer from Ireland or Great Britain.

The next highest ranked Irish (or Northern Ireland) golfers are No. 22 McDowell, No. 75 Shane Lowry, No. 199 Michael Hoey and No. 233 Padraig Harrington.

The next highest ranked British golfers are No. 10 Justin Rose, No. 20 Luke Donald, No. 25 Ian Poulter and No. 30 Lee Westwood.

Dan O’Brien, Dave Johnson reunite for RBC Decathlon

Latest Posts
  1. Kayla Harrison stunned at World Judo Championships

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    Kayla Harrison AP

    “That feeling of wanting to crawl out of your skin.”

  2. Anthony Davis would rather win second Olympic gold than first NBA MVP

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:13 AM EDT

    Anthony Davis Getty Images

    Davis, the second youngest U.S. Olympic basketball player ever in 2012, played the fewest minutes for Team USA at the London Games.

  3. Caitlyn Jenner keeps Olympic gold medal in makeup drawer

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT

    Caitlyn Jenner AP

    Jenner explains why the medal isn’t displayed.

  4. Aries Merritt wins bronze before kidney transplant; incredible Worlds performances

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:39 AM EDT

    Ashton Eaton AP

    Ashton Eaton clocks a decathlon world record. The third fastest woman ever in the 200m. The U.S. was shut out of the medals in its best event.

  5. Usain Bolt receives gift from Segway cameraman at medal ceremony

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:25 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Tao Song

    A CCTV cameraman presented Bolt with a red bracelet.

  6. Usain Bolt may retire after Rio Olympics

    Aug 27, 2015, 12:22 PM EDT

    Usain Bolt AP

    Bolt previously said he would retire after the 2017 World Championships.

  7. Usain Bolt taken out by Segway (video)

    Aug 27, 2015, 11:53 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Segway

    “The rumor I’m trying to start right now is that Justin Gatlin paid him off.”

  8. Usain Bolt crushes Justin Gatlin in World Championships 200m

    Aug 27, 2015, 11:52 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin AP

    Also, Allyson Felix broke a U.S. record for World Championships medals.

  9. Allyson Felix wins 400m, breaks U.S. record for Worlds medals; Rio preview?

    Aug 27, 2015, 11:51 AM EDT

    Allyson Felix

    Felix could try to race two individual events at the Rio Olympics.

  10. Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin’s first race together from 2005 (video)

    Aug 27, 2015, 7:48 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin

    Justin Gatlin got the best of Usain Bolt in their only race before Gatlin’s doping ban.

  11. Oscar Pistorius’ parole review date set, reports say

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:51 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius AP

    Pistorius could be out of prison in weeks.

  12. Sarah Hendrickson out for season after another knee surgery

    Aug 26, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The first female Olympic ski jumper reinjured her right knee.

  13. Paul Wylie: I survived by the narrowest of margins

    Aug 26, 2015, 2:14 PM EDT

    Paul Wylie Getty Images

    Wylie went into sudden cardiac arrest on April 21 and was in a medically induced coma for two days.

  14. Jordan Spieth eyes childhood dream of walking in Opening Ceremony

    Aug 26, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    Jordan Spieth AP

    The Opening Ceremony conflicts with a PGA Tour event.

  15. FINA may set age minimum for World Swimming Championships

    Aug 26, 2015, 11:04 AM EDT

    AP AP

    A 10-year-old girl competed in Kazan earlier this month.

  16. Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid logo, renderings released

    Aug 26, 2015, 10:28 AM EDT

    Los Angeles 2024 logo

    Dodger Stadium and The Forum are potential venues.

  17. Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin set up duel; South African stretchered off after 400m gold

    Aug 26, 2015, 10:19 AM EDT

    AP AP

    A two-time Olympic champion in the 200m moved into another runner’s lane during a semifinal.

  18. Ashleigh Johnson stands out on U.S. water polo team (video)

    Aug 25, 2015, 1:13 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Johnson could become the first African-American woman to compete on an Olympic water polo team.

  19. Former coach of Olympic gymnasts faces child molestation charges

    Aug 25, 2015, 11:42 AM EDT

    Marvin Sharp Getty Images

    Marvin Sharp coached Bridget Sloan and Samantha Peszek.