'Our wee country': national identity, golf and 'Ireland'

Katie Liston, Niamh Kitching

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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The careers of professional golfers offer a noteworthy opportunity to
examine the ways in which national identity is imagined, constructed
and experienced. This paper examines the nexus of national identity and
golf in ‘Ireland’, and more particularly, Rory McIlroy’s public statements
on the identity politics surrounding his country of choice for the 2016
Olympic Games. In so doing, it reveals aspects of McIlroy’s personal and
sporting habitus, the value he associated with being ‘Irish’, his legitimization
of Northern Ireland (NI), and the possible effect of his decision on
others’ orientation towards his sporting identity on the island of Ireland.
Given the current political instability in NI, it remains to be seen whether
McIlroy’s talent as a golfer and his transnational social status will translate
into him being a powerful cultural intermediary for sport in/and NI.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics
Early online date19 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished online - 19 Mar 2019


  • golf
  • habitus
  • McIlroy
  • national identity
  • Olympic Games


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