Rory McIlroy will play for Ireland in 2016 Olympics

Rory McIlroy has made a choice for the Olympics. (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy has made a choice for the Olympics. (Getty Images)

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Rory McIlroy has made, seemingly, a lot of big life decisions in the last few years. First, the decision to create his own management team, then the one to break things off with Caroline Wozniacki, and now a decision to play in the 2016 Olympics for Ireland.

That last one might not sound very big but to McIlroy (and other Northern Irish golfers) it was weighty.

Eamon Lynch of explains:

"Declaring for Ireland or Britain in the Olympics is about much more than the colors on his shirt, and he knows it. Competing for a gold medal is a dream for most athletes, but Rory McIlroy must look to Rio with at least a little dread."

The problem, see, is that Northern Ireland is technically part of the United Kingdom which includes the countries that make up Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales).

So McIlroy's choice was between Britain and Ireland and he's always been left hanging. Especially when he noted that he's always felt more British than Irish.

On Wednesday, he flipped the script.

"I have been thinking about it a lot," he said. "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."

He also noted that sports like hockey and rugby treat Ireland and Northern Ireland as one when it comes to their sports.

"Their sports are huge...they view Ireland as one the same as we do in golf. I don't think there is any point to change that."

"There is no point to go against that. I was always very proud to put on the Irish uniform when I played as an amateur and a boy.

"I will be very proud to do it again."

This is a bigger deal than likely most folks realize as McIlroy has always been thoughtful about the career decisions he's made and this one, more than most, will reverberate throughout (this is not an exaggeration) entire countries for the next few years.

Good on him, though, for going with his gut and putting that decision out there.

Now I just hope he makes the team.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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