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. David Boudia earns another World Diving Championships silver

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Boudia trounced one Chinese star but was beaten by a longtime rival.

  2. Katie Ledecky, Sun Yang open quests for history with golds at World Championships

    Aug 2, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT

    Katie Ledecky Getty Images

    Also, a U.S. Olympic champion’s world record was broken in a semifinal.

  3. Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds

    Aug 2, 2015, 1:28 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Rousey is a 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist.

  4. World Swimming Championships men’s preview

    Jul 31, 2015, 10:55 AM EDT

    Ryan Lochte Getty Images

    Action gets started Sunday in Kazan.

  5. USOC collecting data on polluted Rio Olympic water venues

    Jul 30, 2015, 3:42 PM EDT

    AP AP

    A US Sailing official maintained his stance on the Rio water from last year.

  6. Which Miracle on Ice item is the toughest for Jim Craig to sell? (video)

    Jul 30, 2015, 1:31 PM EDT

    Jim Craig AP

    Watch the goalie’s interview on The Dan Patrick Show.

  7. British Athletics clears Mo Farah after investigation

    Jul 30, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Farah was to have “blood data, supplements data, everything surrounding his medical treatment” investigated.

  8. World Swimming Championships broadcast schedule

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:12 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    NBC, NBC Sports Live Extra and Universal Sports will combine for daily coverage.

  9. Almaty or Beijing? IOC set to choose 2022 Winter Olympic host

    Jul 30, 2015, 8:08 AM EDT

    Sochi Olympics Biathlon AP

    Either way, the vote will mark an Olympic first.

  10. Allyson Felix to run 400m at World Championships

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Felix will be absent from the 200m at Worlds for the first time since 2001.

  11. Simone Biles turns pro

    Jul 29, 2015, 4:49 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Biles won’t be eligible to compete collegiately.

  12. Abby Wambach ‘planning on playing’ in Rio, ‘still need time to decide’

    Jul 29, 2015, 1:53 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    It would be tougher for Wambach to make the Rio Olympic team than the 2015 World Cup team.

  13. Markus Rehm, German amputee long jumper, left off World Championships team

    Jul 29, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Rehm has the best long jump by a German this year, but he may have a competitive advantage.

  14. Inbee Park criticizes Olympic golf qualifying procedures

    Jul 29, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    “If you are in the world’s top 50, you should be able to play in the Olympics.”

  15. IOC president: Boston 2024 didn’t deliver on promises to USOC

    Jul 29, 2015, 11:02 AM EDT

    AP AP

    “I gave up following [Boston 2024] because it was pretty confusing.”