Irish? Own golf clubs? Want to play in the Olympics?

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Rory McIlroy’s announcement that he would not be traveling to Rio to compete in the Olympic Games meant Team Ireland would consist of world number 12 Shane Lowry and world number 73 Graeme McDowell. 

It didn’t take long for McDowell to follow McIlroy’s announcement with a similar one of his own, however. 

“I woke yesterday morning to the news that Rory McIlroy had withdrawn from the Irish Olympic golf team, putting me next in line for an automatic spot on the team,” said the 36-year-old.

“As many within golf will know, my wife Kristin is pregnant and due to have our second child just a couple of weeks after the Olympic golf competition concludes. I made the decision many months ago, before I was on the team, that I would not play or travel outside the US, where my family and I live, in the weeks running up to the birth. Unfortunately I will not therefore be available to replace Rory on the team.

“I’ve always been a proud member of Ireland’s golf teams, from my amateur career through to playing in four World Cups of Golf for Ireland and I wish the Irish Olympic Team the very best of luck in Rio.”

McDowell’s withdrawal brings Padraig Harrington into the mix and, finally some good news for Ireland, he’s keen as mustard.

Harrington is keen to represent Ireland in Rio

“Based on the current ranking points I am next in line for automatic selection to the Irish Olympic Team for Rio 2016,” said three-time major champ Harrington.

“I will work very hard over the next few weeks to achieve this selection as it would be a huge honour for me to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games, having played an active role in golf’s bid to be re-included in the Olympic Games programme.”

With the list of withdrawals increasing, golf may face a struggle to retain its place in the Olympics beyond the guaranteed inclusions of Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. 

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