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Stephanie Meadow: I'll learn a lot working with McGinley at Olympics

By Steven Beacom

Published 05/08/2016

Unexpected dream come true: Stephanie Meadow has shrugged off any Zika virus concerns to compete at the Olympics, which she watched growing up
Unexpected dream come true: Stephanie Meadow has shrugged off any Zika virus concerns to compete at the Olympics, which she watched growing up

Jordanstown golfer Stephanie Meadow is relishing the chance to work with Europe's victorious Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley at the Olympic Games.

In Rio, McGinley will be Ireland's Olympic golf captain of a team including 24-year-old Meadow, who lives in Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

Meadow travels to Brazil next Friday before the women's four-round strokeplay event begins on August 17. She will be joined in the Irish women's team by Leona Maguire with Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power doing their bit for the men in the absence of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell for the first golf tournament staged at the Games since 1904.

"When Paul confirmed that I was going to Rio, he was as delighted as me because he has been working with me for a year and a half building up to this so it was a nice moment for both of us," said Meadow.

"He has been so kind and supportive and I know he has a lot to give. I can learn a lot from him and it is very exciting to be in close contact with a great man like Paul.

"I loved watching the Olympics on television when I was younger and never thought that golf would be at the Games, but as soon as it was announced that had changed, it was my goal to compete in the Olympics."

There has been much discussion over the number of top golfers not going to Rio, with the threat of the Zika virus a common excuse.

Meadow said: "I had concerns about it but I called the Irish Olympic doctor and he went through all the facts with me and the risks and after that I wasn't that worried about it. Hearing all the details, the risk wasn't that big in my eyes so I didn't think twice about it.

"Rory (McIlroy) has been getting criticism but everyone is in a different position and he is getting married and I'm not getting married so that's not in my realm right now. Everyone has different priorities and we have to respect them.

"In my view tennis is a great example of where golf can go in the Olympics. You can see how big an event it has become in the Olympics.

"Eventually everyone will value it and any time you get to represent your country it is an added bonus."

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