Despite the fact that R&A chief executive Peter Dawson assumed last week that Rory McIlroy will be forced to play for Ireland at the Rio Games, the world No. 2 golfer understands he still has a choice regarding which team he competes for, according to Paragraph 2 of IOC Rule 41.
“If you play for a country and then you either change nationality or whatever or if you don’t play for that certain country for three years, you still have a choice,” McIlroy said Wednesday.
“I haven’t played for anyone, I guess, since 2011, end of 2011 World Cup. Obviously, going into the Olympics that will be five years, so I’ll still have a choice.”
He and his Northern Ireland countryman Graeme McDowell can play for either Ireland or Great Britain when golf returns to the Olympics in 2016, but, really, either choice will be incredibly unpopular.
They’ve asked the IOC to step in and make the decision, but so far that request has gone unanswered. So now it seems McIlroy is willing to make the decision for himself. Or just make no decision and wait until September, when he’ll have run out of time and default to Ireland. Either way.