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Golf: McIlroy refuses to rush Olympics choice

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Two-time Major-winner Rory McIlroy says he will take his time before deciding whether to represent the Republic of Ireland or Great Britain at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman represented Ireland at the 2011 World Cup, but he believes he could still switch allegiances due to International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules.

"Rule 41 of the IOC states I still have a choice. They can't take it away from me," he told Saturday's edition of British newspaper the Daily Express.

"If you play for a country then either change nationality or don't play for that country for three years, you still have a choice.

"I haven't played for anyone since the 2011 World Cup. Going into the Olympics that will be five years, so I'll still have a choice.

"The more it's talked about, the more it's going to get blown up, so I'd rather not talk about it until I have to decide what to do," added McIlroy, who earlier this year told the BBC he kight skip the event completely.

In April Peter Dawson, CEO of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R & A) said that McIlroy should be allowed to represent the Republic and not have to make up his own mind.

Dawson, who played a key role in golf regaining its' place at the Olympics when it was voted back in four years ago, said it was unfair placing the pressure on McIlroy to make up his mind.

While Northern Ireland no longer suffers from deadly sectarian attacks, religious tensions still run high and, were McIlroy to choose to represent Ireland, he could face a backlash from the Loyalist community, who are predominantly Protestant.

However, opting for Great Britain would see him become the possible target of abuse from Republicans, who are predominantly Roman Catholic

Golf will return to the Olympic programme in Rio for the first time since 1904.

thw/pi

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130504/golf-mcilroy-refuses-rush-olympics-choice