Northern Irishman doesn't want to choose between Ireland or GB

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Submitted by Charlie Lemay on

Graeme McDowell wants the IOC to decide whether he plays for Great Britain or Ireland at Rio 2016.

As there is no Northern Ireland team at the Olympics, the 33-year-old joins compatriot Rory McIlroy in the dilemma as to which nation they wish to represent.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson previously stated an Olympic regulation may take the decision out of the players’ hands which McDowell backed.

Dawson thought because McIlroy represented Ireland in two World Cups he would have to play for Ireland at the Olympics.

However, the IOC cited a rule that says if three years passed since he represented Ireland, the 23-year-old could play for GB.

McDowell said: “I'm in the boat where I don't mind if the Olympic committee made that call for us.

“It's a difficult decision that Rory and I are in - Northern Ireland is a very interesting part of the world politically.

“It puts us in a very enviable, or even unenviable, position of being able to choose which team we might represent in the Olympics.

"I've said in the past I would play for any of the two teams, anybody that would have me”

World No.2 McIlroy caused controversy in September when he said he felt more British than he did Irish, suggesting he would be flying the union jack at Rio.

In January he seemed to backtrack saying that “if there was a Northern Irish team I would play for Northern Ireland” and then suggested he may skip the Olympics to avoid making a decision.

McDowell added: "It's a huge scenario - Rory, being the player he is and the world number one for many weeks, he was certainly thrust into the spotlight and had his comments analysed over and over.

"If the Olympic committee come out and say that as we played for Ireland in the World Cup, we have to play for Ireland in the Olympics, then so be it.

"It's much easier for them to make that decision for us rather than players being dragged through the media and upsetting people by having to choose.”

Construction of the course is already underway and with the event fast approaching a decision should be made sooner rather than later.

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