AP News

R&A chief: Rules may dictate McIlroy plays for Ireland at 2016 Olympics

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy hasn't decided if he'll play for Ireland or Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics.

CRAIL, Scotland (AP) - Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson is looking into regulations that could keep Rory McIlroy from choosing which team he represents in the 2016 Olympics.

McIlroy is from Northern Ireland, and he has been caught in a tough spot politically whether to play for Ireland or the United Kingdom when golf returns to the Olympic program in Rio for the first time since 1904.

Dawson said Tuesday there might be precedence based on the teams he played for in previous competitions, such as the World Cup or in amateur golf.

``Because of Rory's history of playing for Ireland at amateur level and at World Cup level there may be a regulation within the Olympic rules which would determine who would have to play,'' Dawson said. ``We are still looking at the matter but under that regulation he could play under Irish colors.

``It's quite ambiguous as there are regulations within the IOC that if you play previous world championships for a certain country, that has to carry with you.''

Dawson noted, however, that golf doesn't have the same structure as other sports.

``But I would very much like to take this burden of choice away from the player, if possible, because it's not fair,'' Dawson said. ``I think Rory has made it pretty clear, and what I have heard privately, he is worried about it and the last thing we want is a player worrying about it.''

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