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Published: 14:14 | 23/6/16

No Olympics for McDowell


Graeme McDowell has confirmed that he will not be competing at the Rio Olympics.

McDowell was in line to take the automatic spot in the golf event following Rory McIlroy's decision to withdraw his name from consideration, but the former US Opener winner has ruled himself out contention due to the impending birth of his second child.

"I woke yesterday morning to the news that Rory McIlroy had withdrawn from the Irish Olympic Golf team, putting me in line for an automatic spot on the team," McDowell said in a statement.

"As many within golf will know my wife Kristin is pregnant and is 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 I and my family live, in the weeks running up to the birth

"Unfortunately I will therefore not be available to replace Rory on the team. I have informed Paul McGinley and the Olympic Council of Ireland of my decision."

McDowell's decision paves the way for Padraig Harrington to earn an automatic place on the team.

"Based on the current ranking points I am next in line for automatic selection to the Irish Olympic Team for Rio 2016," Harrington said in a statement.

"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."

Reacting to the news of McDowell's withdrawal, the Olympic Council of Ireland said: "The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) respects the decision taken by Graeme McDowell to make himself unavailable for consideration for the Irish Olympic Golf Team.

"It is important to re-emphasise that Graeme's decision was taken for personal reasons as Rio 2016 is a matter of weeks before the birth of his, and his wife Kristin Stape's, second child.

"This now presents a significant opportunity for another talented Irish golfer to represent his country and participate in golf's historic return to the Olympic Games after a 112-year absence.

"In particular, we are very fortunate to have a global star in Padraig Harrington who is now in contention for automatic selection for Rio 2016."

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