Sport Golf

Thursday 29 September 2016

McGinley must wait to confirm Irish teams for Rio

Published 23/06/2016 | 02:30

McGinley spoke for 30 minutes with McIlroy once he heard the news and said he respects the world No 4’s decision. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE ...4RP
McGinley spoke for 30 minutes with McIlroy once he heard the news and said he respects the world No 4’s decision. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE ...4RP

Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell have given Irish Olympic golf team manager Paul McGinley positive feedback about their prospects of travelling to Rio in the wake of Rory McIlroy's shock withdrawal on Tuesday night.

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McGinley spoke for 30 minutes with McIlroy once he heard the news and said he respects the world No 4's decision to opt out because of fears over the Zika virus.

The former Ryder Cup-winning captain also had lengthy conversations with Lowry and McDowell yesterday.

Now he waits for their final decision to come next week.

McGinley refused to join the chorus of condemnation aimed at McIlroy once the news broke that he would not travel to Rio.

"Rory was committed to this," he said. "Only two weeks ago he got all his jabs and he said himself he had a dead arm for a couple of days over it.

"The golf bag has been made, his clothes have been fitted.

"For people that jump to conclusions and think that, 'Oh no, he never wanted to go', it's not right and it's not fair on Rory.

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"He has gone down the lines of doing all these things and communicating with me and I know that this is a decision he only reached in the last ten days and he's re-considered his position.

"I heard about it late on Tuesday night. He let me and the Olympic Council of Ireland know at the same time.

"I talked to Rory for half an hour on the phone. We went through it, and that was it.

"I don't feel my job is to convince him. My job is to facilitate him, but not convince him. If he's come to that conclusion, it's something I respected," said McGinley .

Shane Lowry, recently married, and Graeme McDowell, whose wife Kristin is expecting a baby boy on August 29, spoke with McGinley yesterday. "Graeme will make a decision on what's best for Graeme. He's delighted now he's in the qualifying spots.

"He says quite honestly he hasn't looked at Zika that much because he didn't think he was going to make the team."

The team as of now is Lowry, and McDowell for the men, and Leona Maguire, who is qualified through the world rankings for the women's competition.

US-based Stephanie Meadow has slipped out of the automatic qualifying spots, so she needs to perform well in a couple of tournaments over the next few weeks.

"I spoke to Leona at the Curtis Cup for a while. I went through everything with her and she's all gung-ho," said McGinley.

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