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Ireland Raises! Official Says Rory Would Have "Pole position to carry the Irish tricolour into the Olympic stadium in Rio."

The Telegraph's Justin Doyle on the "which country will Rory McIlroy represent" debate turning to the level of farce four years before the 2016 Rio Olympic games.

McIlroy subsequently insisted he had not made up his mind and Pat Hickey, the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, has now attempted to sway the world No 1 by offering him the chance to be country’s flag-bearer in Brazil, where golf makes its first appearance at the Games on the Summer Games’ roster of sports since 1904.

“I will say to Rory that if he declares for Ireland, then he will automatically put himself in pole position to carry the Irish tricolour into the Olympic stadium in Rio,” said Hickey, who is also a board member on the International Olympic Committee.

This Hickey dude really knows how to entice a lad:

“You know it was over two years ago when Rory made some rash comments about representing Team GB. I think that he was perhaps a little immature back then and although he reiterated them again recently, in his present state of mind right now, I feel that he might be thinking differently.”

Translation: you were an immature plonker two years ago and kind of were again, but now with all of the hate mail you've received, maybe you've seen the light!

And one more ridiculous quote:

“Can you just imagine what something like this would do for Rory McIlroy,” Hickey added. “It would suddenly catapult him into the realms of being one of the most instantly recognisable sporting faces on the planet. Because make no mistake about it, that’s what carrying the flag does for people.”

Pop quiz: name Ireland's 2012 flag bearer. Actually, throw in Great Britain and the United States too!

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Reader Comments (14)

Pat Hickey is the undefeated Olympic Champion at making an arse of himself and is an embarrassment to himself and the Irish people
This comment is one of his lesser faux pas and this is coming from an Irishman.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmmett Keane
Geoff, that would have been Katie Taylor and Chris Hoy, who both managed to deliver gold medals, and described it as the greatest honour of their lives. Not a clue about the USA. But Emmett's right, Hickey is an idiot, who is up to his neck in OCI politics, which probably says all you need to know about him. Whatever chance there is of Rory playing golf for Ireland, there's no way Rory going to be lining up to wave the Irish tricolour, given his almost allergic reaction to it when somebody "placed" one on his shoulders at Congressional after his US Open win, but at least Pat Hickey gets his name in the paper again.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKieran
Pole position to carry the pole, a "pole"litically charged decision for the "pole"lite young man.
Wow, calling Rory's desire to represent his country "immature". What a jerk
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
And believe me, I understand the ambiguities and issues in the statement "his country". But for this guy to ignore what may very well be a thoughtful position on Rory's part and chalk it up to youthful immaturity is the height of arrogance. If it was me anyway, this would go a long way to making the final decision - in the opposite direction.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
BrianS, Hickey's approach may be crass and counter-productive in terms of getting Rory to declare for Ireland in the Olympics, but he's just politicking, it's what he does. When Rory inevitably declares whatever way he declares, Hickey will either say that he tried his best, offered the flag, worldwide acclaim and love etc.or else he'll take credit for Rory declaring for Ireland. As far as Hickey's concerned it's a win-win. With golf not having been an Olympic sport previously, Hickey has to exert his influence over the sport and let it be known that he's in charge.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKieran
Does Ireland have no legitimate athletes with more innate right to carry the country's flag than a waverer who is, after all, only representing a sport that has not been in the Games for over a century already?
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
He feels British, and so let him be. Some in the North feel Irish; let them.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAK47
Fair question Ghillie. Promising something 4 years ahead of time is pure politics, but I think we both know that. Katie Taylor, flagbearer in London competed in women's boxing, an event which had previously never been in the Olympics. Nobody objected, but probably different circumstances.

Pat Hickey just wants the Irish Olympic squad being associated with success, irrespective of where that comes from, so if he can short-cut it by promising the honour to Rory ahead of some other athlete that it might mean much more to, then he'll probably go right ahead and do that.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKieran
Did anyone see Rory waving a tricolour during the Ryder Cup celebrations at Medinah?
10.9.2012 | Unregistered Commentertitleist38
Rory should tell this guy where to stick his flagpole. It's ridiculous having golf in the Olympics in the first place, Rory's best option would be to take the week off.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Norrie
There's plenty about Hickey here It's pretty unsavoury playing with a young guy's national allegiance in this way - and Hickey knows it.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbs
Heer's the view from Padraig Harrington, that known thinker and geniuns (who said a while back that Olympic golf would outstrip the majors!):

Surprisingly practical. He must have discussed it with that wife of his, who gets him to the course on time.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
Unless the golf tournament begins the very day after the opening cermony, there is zero chance of Rory being anywhere near Brazil when the flag is brought into the stadium.
10.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye

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