Rory McIlroy may pass up the chance to play in the 2016 Olympics rather than disappoint either of the countries vying for his allegiance.
The Rio games may be more than three years out, but Ireland and Great Britain have pressured the world No. 1 to choose his colors for the international competition that will welcome golf back for the first time since 1904. While he would be eligible to suit up for either country, McIlroy would tee it up for Northern Ireland if his native land fielded a squad.
"If I could and there was a Northern Irish team, I'd play for Northern Ireland,” McIlroy says in a BBC documentary slated to air Thursday night.
Instead, the world’s best golfer may root from the sidelines -- though he’s unlikely to wave anyone's flag publicly.
"Play for one side or the other - or not play at all because I may upset too many people,” he opines. “Those are my three options I'm considering very carefully."
McIlroy said back in 2009 that he would likely play for Great Britain but he has since come to regret his admission. The debate became so heated that he even issued issued a “cultural identity” letter in September.
An Open Letter twitter.com/McIlroyRory/st…— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) September 10, 2012
"It was a moment, I don't want to say of weakness, but a moment of frustration with it all," he notes in the broadcast. "People tune in to watch me play on TV and feel like they are connected to me in some way. I don't want to repay them for their support with something they don't want me to do."
The BBC narrative, in which Tiger Woods, Darren Clarke, and Graeme McDowell chime in about McIlroy’s stellar 2012 season, also touches on the subject’s relation with tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.
"It's good that we both have our own separate careers," says Wozniacki, who observes that McIlroy “hasn’t changed a bit” despite his fame and fortune. "We know how the other is feeling and the drive to always want to improve at sport, but at the same time one of us isn't sitting at home waiting for the other.”