Rory McIlroy's decision impossible

2014 06 Mcilroy

As ‘no win’ positions go, Rory McIlroy’s predicament over which country to represent at the 2016 Rio Olympics - Great Britain or Ireland - must rank right up there.


Born in County Down, Northern Ireland, Rory is eligible to play for either side and, after much deliberation, today announced that he’ll play for Ireland. He said his decision was based on his experiences of being an Irish international at amateur level.

No sooner had he announced his intentions than the backlash on social media started. ‘Surprising decision considering he previously considered himself British’ noted one Twitter user. Others were less much less kind.

The sad thing is that, if he’d made the opposite decision, the comeback would have been every bit as ferocious.

But here’s the thing: Rory McIlroy - indeed, any athlete in his position - should not have to make such a decision. Surely it ought to be incumbent of the people organising the event, in this case the International Olympic Committee, to quantify what does or doesn’t make somebody eligible for a team and, thereby, remove the element of choice from the individual?

The IOC’s Olympic Charter notes in paragraph two of point 41, ‘Nationality of Competitors’: “All matters relating to the determination of the country which a competitor may represent in the Olympic Games shall be resolved by the IOC Executive Board.”

That seems clear, right? Until you read point one of the under-noted bye-law: “A competitor who is a national of two or more countries at the same time may represent either one of them, as he may elect.”
All credit to Rory McIlroy for making this decision. With any luck people will respect it.

Eh, what? The Executive Board will resolve matters such as Rory’s - except that it won’t.

In my view, the eligibility issue should be overcome by answering one of two questions. One, which country were you born in? Two, which country have you been resident in longest?

Rory was born in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. As such, the IOC should have determined that he ought to play for Team GB (which, by rights, ought to rebrand itself Team UK to accurately reflect the demographics of its athletes).

That might not have been the decision he’d have wanted, as his choosing Ireland would suggest, but it would have taken a near-impossible, politically-charged matter out of his hands.

That an organisation the size of the IOC either can’t or won’t take responsibility for this issue speaks volumes. Meanwhile, Rory and Co. are left to bear the brunt.

All credit to McIlroy for making this decision. With any luck people will respect it and accept it must have been a difficult conclusion for him to come to. The sad truth, though, is that it is a position he should never have found himself in.

Rory McIlroy's decision: Your thoughts


What do you make of Rory McIlroy's decision to play for Ireland at the Olympics? Leave your thoughts in our 'Comments' section below.

Share this Article

share-logo
twitter-logo facebook-logo

Latest Videos See all videos right arrow

play button
6 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR WINTER GOLF
golf coaching
play button
Introducing... the top 5 drivers of 2020!
Drivers
play button
REAL GAME CHANGERS – Titleist TSi metalwoods review
Titleist
play button
Is this a cheaper and better ball??? – Vice Golf balls review
Vice
See all videos right arrow

Golf News

Golfer is first woman to play all of Scotland's courses
Gleneagles to host 2022 Senior Open
Masters schedule released with one key feature AXED
Ocean Tee making sustainable waves on European Tour
Scots club safeguards future with world-class short game facility

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods: Inside his $41million Florida mansion
The very best pubs in St Andrews
The Scottish Golf Course Emoji Quiz!
24 lies every bad golfer tells
Doug Sanders: The extraordinary life of golf's original playboy

Quick Fault 'n' Fixes See all videos right arrow

play button
Rotate behind the ball
Watch
play button
Keep the arms and body connected
Watch
play button
Increase the speed of your hands for more distance
Watch
play button
Keeping your clubface square
Watch
See all videos right arrow