Rory McIlroy to represent Ireland at 2016 Olympics

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy has elected to play for Ireland at the 2016 Olympics
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has announced he will represent Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro

Rory McIlroy has announced he will represent Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

He announced his decision to favour Ireland over Great Britain during a press conference at the European Tour's Irish Open.

The Ulsterman expressed his pride at representing Ireland after speculation he'd compete as part of Team GB.

"I've been thinking about it a lot," said McIlroy.

"I don't know if it's because the World Cup is in Brazil and I was thinking a couple of years down the line.

"I was thinking about all the times I have played for Ireland as a boy and everything.

"For me, it's the right decision to play for Ireland."

McIlroy was eligible to play for either Ireland or Great Britain as Northern Ireland doesn't field its own team.

McIlroy's announcement - which was applauded by Irish media during the press conference - ends a period of constant speculation.

He had previously considered not taking part in the 2016 Olympic at all to avoid upsetting people.

His compatriot Graeme McDowell will also represent Ireland in the tournament.

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x