Graeme McDowell thinks World Cup decision is forerunner for Olympics

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

It looks like Graeme McDowell will play for Ireland in 2016. (USATSI)
It looks like Graeme McDowell will play for Ireland in 2016. (USATSI)

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There has been anguish in the Rory McIlroy camp and Graeme McDowell camp over the past year over a future decision of who to play for at the 2016 Olympics.

It appears though, that at least for McDowell the decision will be made for him.

McDowell is from Northern Ireland and was going to be able to choose between playing for Ireland (as he always has in the World Cup of Golf) and playing for team Great Britain (made up of England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland).

According to this Irish Golf Desk article R&A chief executive Peter Dawson has implied that World Cup appearances within four years of the Olympics will force a golfer's hand. They will have to compete for the same team at the Olympics McDowell is competing in the World Cup this weekend for Ireland as he always has at the World Cup.

McDowell said earlier this week he has always wanted to play for Ireland at the World Cup.

"We grew up wanting to wear the green jacket and have the golf bag with the Ireland logo on it … the Golf Union of Ireland looks after all the players in Ireland and I have always enjoyed being part of that. When it comes to the Olympic discussion, that raises some questions as to who we play for."

He also talked earlier this week about how agonizing the Olympics decision is.

"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," said McDowell. "It is very difficult to pick a side because you are going to end up upsetting someone from either side, really."

I can't even imagine. McDowell went on to say he agreed with Dawson, that a World Cup appearance was kind of the forerunner to the Olympics.

"I believe that me being here and representing Ireland will, you know, with the Olympic regulations, will mean that ... I will have to play for Ireland when it comes to the Olympics in 2016," said McDowell. "Part of me feels relieved to not have to make that decision."

I can't really blame him. He's in a lose-lose situation there. It's a good thing that this decision was taken out of his hands but it will be interesting to see how McIlroy responds.

McDowell also has to, you know, actually make the team now.

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