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McIlroy pledges Olympic allegiance to Ireland

ESPN staff
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Rory McIlroy has twice represented Ireland in a World Cup © Getty Images
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Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will represent Ireland and not Great Britain should he qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The Northern Irishman is eligible to represent both Olympic teams, although at one stage he considered not participating at all in order not to offend anyone.

However, after much speculation, McIlroy announced his decision having arrived at the Irish Open, which takes place at Fota Island in County Cork.

"I see this as a continuation of what I have always done," McIlroy said. "I have been thinking about it a lot. I don't know if it is 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 is the right decision to play for Ireland."

McIlroy has twice represented Ireland at a World Cup alongside fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell.

In 2009, the International Olympic Committee confirmed golf would make a return to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904.

McIlroy, who is a two-time Major winner, recently tied for 26th at the US Open, although he endured a golfer's nightmare when his clubs failed to arrive on time at Fota Island.

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