Dawson: Rules may dictate McIlroy’s Olympic choice
Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson is looking into
regulations that could keep Rory McIlroy from choosing which team
he represents in the 2016 Olympics.
McIlroy is from Northern Ireland, and he has been caught in a
tough spot politically whether to play for Ireland or Britain when
golf returns to the Olympic program in Rio for the first time since
Dawson said Tuesday there might be precedence based on the teams
he played for in previous competitions, such as the World Cup or in
”Because of Rory’s history of playing for Ireland at amateur
level and at World Cup level there may be a regulation within the
Olympic rules which would determine who would have to play,”
Dawson said. ”We are still looking at the matter but under that
regulation he could play under Irish colors.”
”It’s quite ambiguous as there are regulations within the IOC
that if you play previous world championships for a certain
country, that has to carry with you.”
Dawson noted, however, that golf doesn’t have the same structure
as other sports.
”But I would very much like to take this burden of choice away
from the player, if possible, because it’s not fair,” Dawson said.
”I think Rory has made it pretty clear, and what I have heard
privately, he is worried about it and the last thing we want is a
player worrying about it.”
In other topics Dawson covered during a 90-minute session with
reporters, he said he would not pressure the all-male clubs on the
British Open rotation into adding female members as long as they
follow equality laws.
The Open will be played this year at Muirfield, which has no
women as members.
Augusta National invited two women to join for the first time in
the club’s 80-year history. Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore were
both at the Masters this year wearing their green jackets.
Muirfield allows women access to the links east of Edinburgh as
visitor, and Dawson noted it has hosted the Curtis Cup for female
”There is nothing wrong under UK legislation with a single-sex
club as long as they behave under the equality act as far as guest
access is concerned, and which Muirfield certainly does,” Dawson
said. ”And to think the R&A might say to a club like
Muirfield, `You are not going to have The Open anymore unless you
change your policy,’ is frankly a bullying position that we would
”Muirfield has a huge history when it comes to The Open
Championship and this will be the 16th time that is has been played
there, and who are we to say what they should do as they are
behaving perfectly legally.”
In other topics:
– Dawson criticized the PGA of America for its public campaign
against a proposed rule that would ban the anchored stroke. The
R&A and U.S. Golf Association are expected to announce within
the month whether to adopt the new rule, which would not take
effect until 2016.
Four of the last six major champions, including Masters winner
Adam Scott, have used a long putter anchored to the body.
”The PGA of America know my views about this and I’m
disappointed at the way that campaign was conducted,” Dawson said.
”It put rule-making onto the negotiating table. People have taken
position that they will now have to back off from or maintain. The
negotiating table is no place for rule-making to take place.
Obviously, the feelings are strong. We shall have to see where it