We've said it before and we'll inevitably say it again, Rory McIlroy is inevitably in a shit situation when it comes to discussing politics in Ireland. Caught between a rock and a hard place, McIlroy's apolitical approach to life in Northern Ireland is at odds with how most of his critics would view the situation.
Those that refuse to look past those unforgettable words of 'I’ve always felt more British than Irish' back in 2012, are always going to be there, sniping away on various forums and that's something that McIlroy will just have to deal with. Up until now, the way he's done that has been to largely ignore any form of political discussion.
As the question will inevitably go "he's a golfer at the end of the day, what business does he have getting involved in politics?" However, rational human beings have opinions and if he has the kind of profile that means an awful lot of people are going to listen to him, it's rather difficult to always keep your opinions to one side.
Take for example, McIlroy's much publicised response to Brexit a couple of weeks ago. Not only did he publicly come out against Brexit, he also took a dig at Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Something which is not always going to go down too well is the traditionally Republican circles of the American golfing landscape in which McIlroy resides.
Fair play to him but, once you make your political opinions known like that, you better be prepared to expand on them. McIlroy sat down with
McIlroy addressed both the lies of Nigel Farage and the Leave campaign and scaremongering of Trump in America. But, having admitted that 'this is the first year I have really got into politics' it was only natural that McIlroy would be asked to go further into the situation on home soil.
Will there be a hard border? Will Sinn Féin be able to veto Brexit altogether? What of the possibility of reunification?
McIlroy was not exactly throwing his hat into the ring on that one but he did appear to accept that, now Brexit was a reality, the possibility of a united Ireland is something that is very much on the table.
If I’m Northern Irish, what’s better? To be part of the UK and not be in the EU? Or to be in a united Ireland and still belong to the EU? People are going to have to weigh that up.
That's not to say that McIlroy jumped in head first and gave a definitive answer to which side of the fence he's on but it's certainly interesting to see him address the issue. And speaking of issues, what of Zika and his decision to withdraw from Rio?
We've had his statements before so there's not a whole lot to add on that matter. However, McIlroy did reveal that Sonia O'Sullivan had an interesting input into the matter the day before the final announcement was made that he was withdrawing from the Games.
Sonia told me, “If the Olympics were the pinnacle for you, then it might be a different matter."
For me, I haven’t been dreaming about the Olympics my whole life. In my opinion, the risk I was going to face didn’t match what I was playing for. The risk wasn’t worth the reward.
He's in a situation that ensures he's always going to piss someone off but you get the sense that he's used to that at this stage. And if that means he's now able to brush aside the Olympics and a possible Irish gold medal, then so be it.