No World Cup for Northern Ireland, officials say, McIlroy likely to sit out

Rory McIlroy
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Rory McIlroy is expected to stay away from the World Cup this winter after event organizers said Northern Ireland wouldn't get its own team after all.
Associated Press

Series: Other Tour

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 | 5:35 p.m.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Northern Ireland won't have its own team for the World Cup of Golf after all. 

A press release issued by the International Federation of PGA Tours last week during The Players Championship said that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each would be considered separate countries when the World Cup is played in November at Royal Melbourne under a new format. 

It distinguished the World Cup from the Olympics, where those countries all compete together as Britain. 

The PGA Tour issued a statement late Friday afternoon that only England, Scotland and Wales will have separate teams for the World Cup. That's how it has always been for the World Cup. Players from Northern Ireland and Ireland will continue to compete as one team under the Irish flag. 

The status quo likely will keep Rory McIlroy away from Royal Melbourne. 

McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, had said he would not be playing in the World Cup. When told last week that Northern Ireland would have its own teams, McIlroy said, "That might change things a little bit." 

If he chose to play in the World Cup there could be Olympic ramifications for McIlroy, who has been asked repeatedly if he would play for Britain or Ireland in the Olympics. If he were to play for Ireland in the World Cup, that might force him to represent Ireland in the Olympics.