Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy will compete at Rio 2016 if Lord Coe has his way, after the British Olympic Association chairman revealed the board are still waiting for the eligibility criteria to be finalised.

The 23-year-old world No.2 currently faces a dilemma on whether to represent Great Britain or Ireland, who he has played for at amateur level, and in the World Cup of Golf.

McIlroy's predicament stems from the fact that athletes born in Northern Ireland are eligible to represent either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games, and he has intimated in the past that he could opt out altogether to avoid the difficult decision.

"As somebody who has welcomed golf in to the Olympic family I think that most of us want to see the best players playing," Coe told Sky Sports. "I hope that Rory is there."

The Olympic Charter states: "A competitor who has represented one country in the Olympic Games, in continental or regional games or in world or regional championships...and who has changed his nationality or acquired a new nationality, may participate in the Olympic Games to represent his new country provided that at least three years have passed since the competitor last represented his former country."

With the next Olympics in Rio still three years away, it means that McIlroy could represent either team, as long as he doesn't play for Ireland again in a tournament.

The two-time major champion said that he "felt more British than Irish" in September last year, but has so far refused to fully commit his allegiance to Team GB.

"Whatever decision I make, whether that's play for Ireland, play for Britain, not play at all maybe just because I don't want to upset too many people."

Asked if he was considering opting out, McIlroy added: "For sure it's definitely an option. I've got three options; I either play for one side or the other or I don't play."

 

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Rory McIlroy
Golf