Rory McIlroy tells the BBC’s Winker Watson in a documentary tonight that against the backdrop of the brouhaha over his identity remarks last year about feeling more British than Irish he might not now take part in the next Olympics.
McIlroy told the Daily Mail “but the fact is, I’ve always felt more British than Irish. Maybe it was the way I was brought up. I don’t know but I have always felt more of a connection with the UK than with Ireland.”
The first thing we should get straight is this. We did not elect Rory McIlroy. He did not ask us for a vote or put himself in a position where he is accountable to the public.
In this context as a sportsman he is a free agent. Is he in sport to achieve the unachievable as a sportsman or is he in a popularity contest?
If he sees himself in a popularity contest he is starting on the wrong foot. People who really distinguish themselves in sport have to be prepared to take big decisions, decisions for the good of their game not for the good of their supporters.
Alex Ferguson has seen off some of the greatest players ever to grace Old Trafford grounds. Had he been subject to the whim of popular opinion those people adjudged by him, rightly or wrongly problematic, would be a potential ongoing debilitating presence in Manchester United’s camp.
Needless to say the fall out from big sporting decisions by an individual or a manager can be ugly as we saw in the case of Donegal GAA manager Jim McGuinness and Kevin Cassidy.
There comes a time when one has to shoot the fox or else there will be no chickens left standing in the coop.
Rory McIlroy should let his clubs do the talking not his mouth.