Graeme McDowell rules himself out of Olympics contention

The news follows Rory McIlroy's decision not to compete in Brazil

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell has decided to make himself unavailable for the Olympic Games.

McDowell moved into contention to represent Ireland in Brazil, after Rory McIlroy pulled out of the event due to the Zika virus on Wednesday.

In a statement released on his Twitter account, McDowell confirmed he has pulled out of consideration, as his wife Kristin is due to give birth to their second child in the weeks after the tournament.

The Olympic Council of Ireland said they "respect the decision taken by Graeme McDowell to make himself unavailable for consideration for the Irish Olympic Golf Team".  

"It is important to re-emphasise that Graeme’s decision was taken for personal reasons as Rio 2016 is a matter of weeks before the birth of his, and his wife Kristin Stape’s, second child", The IOC added.

McDowell's withdrawal means that Padraig Harrington is now set to join Shane Lowry on Team Ireland in Brazil. Harrington was instrumental in help golf join the Olympic Games in 2009.

“Based on the current ranking points I am next in line for automatic selection to the Irish Olympic Team for Rio 2016.  I will work very hard over the next few weeks to achieve this selection as it would be a huge honour for me to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games, having played an active role in golf’s bid to be re-included in the Olympic Games programme.”

Speaking to Newstalk Lunchtime, Minister for Sport Shane Ross expressed his disappointment at the decisions made by both McIlroy and McDowell.