Tuesday 21 January 2020

McDowell keen to represent Ireland at the World Cup alongside McIlroy

Phil Casey

Graeme McDowell insists the debate over which country to represent at the Olympics will not stop him from playing in the World Cup.

McDowell and fellow Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy have represented Ireland in the last two stagings of the biennial event, which this year is reportedly set to be staged at Royal Melbourne in November.

McIlroy in particular has come under pressure to decide whether to represent Great Britain or Ireland when golf returns to the Olympics in 2016, with the possibility being raised that an IOC rule will take the decision out of his hands.

"I think it's Rule 41 but I still have a choice. They can't take it away from me," McIlroy said last week.

"If you change country or don't play for that country for three years you still have a choice. I've not played for anyone since the World Cup in 2011, the Olympics would be five years so I still have a choice."

That would change if McIlroy did join McDowell in Melbourne this winter, the latter saying today: "The dilemma Rory and I face is a very unique one.

"Regarding the World Cup of Golf this year for example, that if we played we'd then be compelled to play for Ireland in the Olympic Games; is that rule going to stand?

"I had an informal conversation with Rory last night about are we going to play the World Cup together, I need my partner in crime in Melbourne. I would love to do that and the Olympics will not enter my head with regards to making the decision of whether I'm going to play the World Cup.

"If it forces me into playing for Ireland at the Olympics so be it. Regardless of whether Rory plays I want to play and I would like him to be there as well."

McIlroy has previously said he might simply not play in Rio to avoid upsetting people with his decision, and added last week: "The more it's talked about it's just going to get blown up. I would rather not talk about it until the time I have to decide what to do."

PA Media

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