Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Graeme McDowell: we should be told who to declare for ahead of 2016 Olympics

Golfers Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in jubilant mood

Golfer Graeme McDowell normally requires no help in making decisions.

But in the case of Rio 2016, he wants the International Olympic Committee to make the choice for him and declare which country he and Rory McIlroy should represent.

"The Olympic Committee should tell us either 'you guys are playing for Ireland' or 'you're playing for Great Britain'," said McDowell in Shanghai, where he is playing in the BMW Masters.

"We are in a unique scenario in Northern Ireland in that we have one foot on each team."

McDowell has seen the angst the dilemma has already caused McIlroy. There was an outcry when the world No 1 suggested he would represent Team GB in Rio, where the sport returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1924.

There was also a suggestion that the Olympic Council of Ireland would offer McIlroy the chance to carry the Ireland flag into the opening ceremony in four years' time if he competes for the Republic, but OCI president Pat Hickey said he was misquoted with this offer to McIlroy.

"Obviously Rory's come under a lot of scrutiny for saying he might play for Great Britain," McDowell said. "I come from a mixed-religion family.

"My mum's Catholic and my dad's Protestant. And my mum would probably like me to play for Ireland, and my dad might like me to play for Britain. But then I always kind of sit on the fence because that's exactly the only place I can sit.

"I'd play for whatever team would have me come 2016."

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