Rory McIlroy has put talk of who he would represent at the Rio Olympics on the backburner after saying he feels “more British than Irish”.
The two-time major winner last night lifted the BMW Championship in Carmel - his second successive PGA title - but woke up to some stories about a supposed dispute over who he would turn out for when golf gains Olympic status in 2016.
Quotes attributed to the County Down-born 23-year-old said he felt “more British than Irish”, suggesting he would look to be a part of the all-conquering Team GB in Brazil.
But McIlroy took to his official Twitter feed tonight to deliver a statement which said he had made no such decisions and was purely concentrating on golf.
“I am in an extremely sensitive and difficult position and I conveyed as much in a recent newspaper interview,” he wrote.
“I am a proud product of Irish golf and the Golfing Union of Ireland. I am also a proud Ulsterman who grew up in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom. That is my background and always will be.
“I receive great support from both Irish and British fans alike and it is greatly appreciated.”
Golf will be making its Games debut in Rio and although still some time away, a number of players have already been asked for their thoughts on it.
But with a Ryder Cup less than three weeks away, world number one McIlroy is not entertaining talk of it, or of who he will be playing for when the time comes.
“I wish to clarify I have absolutely not made a decision regarding my participation on the next Olympics,” he added.
“On a personal level, playing in the Olympics would be a huge honour. However, the Games in Rio are four years away and I certainly won’t be making any decisions with regard to participation any time soon.
“My focus right now is on being the best player I can be, trying to win major championships and contributing to what will hopefully be a victorious Ryder Cup side.”
* See special reports in Tuesday’s News Letter.