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Rio call is 'horrible' for McIlroy - Pádraig

PADRAIG HARRINGTON has said that Rory McIlroy is in a "horrible position" in the run-up to Rio but admits that if he chose to play for GB it would open the Olympic door to more Irish golfers.

"I WOULD not like to be in that position," admitted Harrington.

"One thing I've said before - and it has been lost in translation - is that because of the peculiarities of the selection process, if the team were to be selected at this moment and Rory declared for Great Britain, it would mean I get to play.

"If he declared for Ireland, I don't play. So the most advantageous thing he could do in terms of getting more Irish players in the Olympics is to play for Britain."

The International Golf Federation (IGF) has proposed an Olympic qualification procedure for both men and women based on world rankings. A total field of 60 is proposed, with the top 15 in the world rankings automatically qualifying, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players would be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.

As things stand, if Rory declared for GB the only way Graeme McDowell (pictured) could travel to Rio would be by declaring for Ireland and he would be joined by world number 57 Harrington.


Harrington added: "It does not cost anyone in Britain a place, because they get as many as they like in the top 15 in the world. Once you are outside the top 15 you only get two places. Because I am outside the top 15, and Graeme (McDowell) is ahead of me, if Rory declared for Ireland I don't get to play.

"I don't know how people will take that. Would people want two more Irish people to play, and give up the chance of the number one player in the world and the favourite to win the gold medal declaring for (Ireland)?"

Harrington has also said that he would love to follow in Olazabal's shoes and become Ryder Cup captain one day but feels he can still make a contribution as a player. "Absolutely, but not just yet. I hope to play a few more," he said.