The 23-year-old would be eligible for selection by either Great Britain or Ireland, but may opt out instead to avoid offending anyone.
Speaking in a BBC documentary, the Ryder Cup star said: "Whatever decision I make, whether that's play for Ireland, play for Britain, not play at all maybe just because I don't want to upset too many people." Asked if not playing was a genuine possibility, McIlroy added: "For sure it's definitely an option. I've got three options; I either play for one side or the other or I don't play."
In September last year, McIlroy released an open letter on his Twitter account in response to quotes attributed to him which said he felt "more British than Irish".
"I am in an extremely sensitive and difficult position and I conveyed as much in a recent newspaper interview," he wrote at the time. "I am a proud product of Irish golf and the Golfing Union of Ireland. I am also a proud Ulsterman who grew up in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom. That is my background and always will be.
"I receive great support from both Irish and British fans alike and it is greatly appreciated."