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Rory McIlroy will be Olympic flag-bearer at Rio -- if he picks Team Ireland

By Justin Doyle

Published 09/10/2012

Rory McIlroy is competing in this week's World Golf Final
Rory McIlroy is competing in this week's World Golf Final
Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and vice captain Darren Clarke celebrate
European Team members (L-R) Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy pose with the Ryder Cup following Europe's 14.5 to 13.5 victory over the USA at the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 4, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy of Europe pose with the Ryder Cup
Looking ahead: Rory McIlroy takes the view that Darren Clarke could well suited to leading Europe in four years time at Hazeltine
Rory McIlroy celebrates with the Ryder Cup after Europe performed a spectacular comeback to beat the USA
Rory McIlroy of Europe waves to the gallery on the 17th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.
Europe's Rory McIlroy won his final-day match at the Ryder Cup (AP)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Sergio Garcia celebrate after Team Europe defeats the United States for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Martin Kaymer of Europe celebrates with Rory McIlroy and Peter Hanson after holing the decisive putt on the 18th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Martin Kaymer (R) and Rory McIlroy celebrate in the locker room after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: (L-R) Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy celebrate in the locker room after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy celebrates after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe (L) and Tiger Woods of the USA greet each other on the 18th green after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe celebrates after Martin Kaymer holed the decisive putt on the 18th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Justin Rose (L) and Rory McIlroy of Europe celebrate on the 18th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe waves to the gallery on the 17th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe celebrates a putt during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe waves to the gallery on the 17th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy poses with the Ryder Cup after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy speaks with the media after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy speaks with the media after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy speaks with the media after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy of Europe pose with the Ryder Cup after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Europe's Rory McIlroy holds up the trophy after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Europe's Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell of Europe walk to the stage during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Rory McIlroy of Europe waves to the crowd at the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Europe's Rory McIlroy reacts to a putt on the seventh hole during a practice round at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Rory McIlroy of Europe signs autographs for spectators during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Rory McIlroy tallks with Justin Timberlake during the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Rory McIlroy of Europe addresses the media during his press conference during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Graeme McDowell of Europe (L) poses with his girlfriend Kristin Stape and Rory McIlroy (R) for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy is the one the Americans want to stop
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy of Europe shae hands during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Rory McIlroy of Europe during the fourth preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Rory McIlroy of Europe signs autographs for fans during a practice round during the fourth preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with trophy after his victory at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with trophy after his victory at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with J.K. Wadley Trophy (R) and the BMW Championship Trophy after his victory at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with J.K. Wadley Trophy (L) and the BMW Championship Trophy after his victory at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Irealnd poses for a photo as he celebrates with the trophy after he won the tournament following the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Irealnd poses for a photo as he celebrates with the trophy after he won the tournament following the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Irealnd poses for a photo as he celebrates with the trophy after he won the tournament following the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Irealnd poses for a photo as he celebrates with the trophy after he won the tournament following the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks to the 18th tee during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waits on the 18th green during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his approach shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with trophy after his victory at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald look on from the fairway on the seventh hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his approach shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off of the green after he finished the final round at -20 to give him the win in the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland sinks a putt on the 18th hole green to finish the final round at -20 and win the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the 18th green during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. McIlroy finished at -20 to win the tournament. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after he made his final putt on the 18th green to finish 2o under and win the tournament during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland stands on the 18th hole green during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. McIlroy finished at -20 to win the tournament. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: (L-R) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald celebrate after McIroy finished the final round of the BMW Championship at -20 to win the tournament at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland and Lee Westwood of England walk off of the 18th green after they finished their final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. McIlroy finished at -20 to win the tournament. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland is congratulated by Lee Westwood of England after they finished their final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. McIlroy finished at -20 to win the tournament. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after he made his final putt on the 18th green to finish 2o under and win the tournament during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald walk across a foot bridge towards the fourth hole tee box during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks up the second fairway with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the ninth hole during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy alongside his parents Rosie and Gerry
Louis Oosthuizen, left, of South Africa, and Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, leave the 18th green after finishing the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship PGA golf tournament at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Rory McIlroy leads by one shot from Louis Oosthuizen and two from Tiger Woods
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after a putt during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland holds up the trophy after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland holds up the trophy after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after a putt on the 18th green before winning the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland holds up the trophy after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland holds up the trophy after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa reacts after missing a putt on the 18th green to force a playoff with Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: (L) Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa shakes hands with Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland after McIlroy defeats Oosthuizen by one-stroke to win the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits the ball during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 12: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits out of the sand on the tenth hole during the Final Round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 12, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 12: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waves after hitting out of the sand on the tenth hole during the Final Round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 12, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 12: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits off the ninth tee during the Final Round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 12, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 12: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waves after a putt on the eighth green during the Final Round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 12, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 12: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waves after a birdie putt on the seventh green during the Final Round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 12, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
The final day of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Rory McIlroy with Caroline Wozniacki
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 01: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 1st hole during the Final Round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 1, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his third shot at the 17th hole during the third round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland with his father Gerry McIlroy during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
The Irish Open 2012 at Royal Portrush - day three Pro-Am. Young fans pictured watching Rory McIlroy on the seventeenth hole
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Ana Botin of Spain (l) The CEO of Banco Santander UK playing poses on the first tee with Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and her son Pablo Botin of Spain . McIlroy has a sponsprship deal with Santander during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy with dad Gerry
Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy with dad Gerry
Irish Open Pro-Am. Young fans pictured watch Rory McIlroy on the 17th hole
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts as a spectator is hit by an errant ball during the pro-am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy prepares to tackle the course at Royal Portrush as the 2012 Irish Open begins
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
Irish Open Pro-Am 2012 at Royal Portrush. Rory McIlroy
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks to the media prior to the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 27: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks to the media prior to the Pro Am for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 27, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Golden couple Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniaki
Rory McIlroy practices with his friend Harry Diamond
Rory McIlroy practices at Royal Portrush
Rory McIlroy practices with his friend Harry Diamond
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland with Harry Diamond (r) of Northern Ireland one of McIlroy's childhood friends who received an invitation to play this week during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Harry Diamond of Northern Ireland playing with his friend Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Harry Diamond of Northern Ireland playing with his friend Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 26: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during practice for the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 26, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Golfer Rory McIlroy watches his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark practice during day four of the AEGON International on June 19, 2012 in Eastbourne, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Golfer Rory McIlroy watches his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark practice during day four of the AEGON International on June 19, 2012 in Eastbourne, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Golfer Rory McIlroy watches his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark practice during day four of the AEGON International on June 19, 2012 in Eastbourne, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Golfer Rory McIlroy watches his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark practice during day four of the AEGON International on June 19, 2012 in Eastbourne, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Golfer Rory McIlroy watches his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark practice during day four of the AEGON International on June 19, 2012 in Eastbourne, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Golfer Rory McIlroy watches his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark practice during day four of the AEGON International on June 19, 2012 in Eastbourne, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Golfer Rory McIlroy watches his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark practice during day four of the AEGON International on June 19, 2012 in Eastbourne, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Golfer Rory McIlroy watches his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark practice during day four of the AEGON International on June 19, 2012 in Eastbourne, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 12: 2011 US Open Golf Champion Rory McIlroy walks out to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of a Major League Baseball game between the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 12: 2011 US Open Golf Champion Rory McIlroy throws out the ceremonial first pitch of a Major League Baseball game between the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 12: 2011 US Open Golf Champion Rory McIlroy stands on the mound smiling before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of a Major League Baseball game between the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
DALY CITY, CA - JUNE 12: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 12, 2012 in Daly City, California. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 12: Rory McIlroy (L) and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland wait on a tee box during a practice round prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 12: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media during a practice round prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Golfer Rory McIlroy will be offered the chance to carry the Irish flag at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics in return for pledging his sporting allegiance to Team Ireland.

Pat Hickey, the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, has attempted to sway the world number one after years of speculation about who McIlroy will declare for.

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

"What he has done on the world stage for Irish golf is absolutely astonishing. Personally, I would dearly love for him to represent Ireland."

In 2009, he claimed he would "probably play for Great Britain" as he has a UK passport, a stance he reiterated last month when he hinted in an interview that he has "always felt more British than Irish".

McIlroy subsequently insisted he had not made up his mind, prompting Mr Hickey to tempt him to declare for Ireland with talk of being flag-bearer.

Golf makes its first appearance at the summer games since 1904 at the Rio Olympics.

"Can you just imagine what something like this would do for Rory McIlroy?" Mr 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."

He said that he did not think that McIlroy had yet made up his mind despite a series of comments on who he might choose to represent.

McIlroy, already well established as one of golf's true superstars, will be aware of the incentive that flag-bearing would carry.

Belfast Telegraph

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