McDowell to Play for Ireland in Rio Olympics

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell has stated that he expects to play for Ireland in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games.

McDowell representing Ireland at this week’s World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, Australia, has ruled him out of playing for Team GB in Brazil.

Olympic rules state that he could only play for Team GB if three years have passed since representing Ireland.

However, McDowell was unperturbed, saying: "With Olympic regulations I'll have to play for Ireland when it comes to the Olympics - if good enough."

Athletes who are born in Northern Ireland are eligible to represent Great Britain or Ireland in the Olympic Games. Fellow Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy still has the choice of playing for either Great Britain or Ireland in Rio, should he make the decision to take part.

Both McIlroy and McDowell have been reluctant to commit to either team due to the political ramifications such a choice carries, and have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make the decision instead.

McDowell added: "It is a very touchy political and religious subject, one that myself and Rory have not really enjoyed answering questions about the last few years because it is very difficult to pick a side because you are going to end up upsetting someone from either side.

"From my point of view, when the World Cup came back on the schedule and it was coming to Royal Melbourne, I knew that I wanted to be part of this team. We have always represented Ireland when it has come to the World Cup."

McDowell is confident that the issue is settled, stating: "Part of me feels relieved to not have to make that decision.

"It certainly did not enter into my reasons to wanting to be here this week. I wanted to be here and play with Shane (Lowry), around Royal Melbourne, in a golf tournament which I have always loved."