McDowell calls on IOC to settle Oly country debate

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 25, 2012
North Ireland's Graeme McDowell says the International Olympic Committee should step in to resolve the growing debate over whether he and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy should represent Britain or Ireland at the 2016 Olympics. McIlroy in particular has found himself drawn into the controversy as to which nation he should compete for when golf returns to the Olympic program at Rio de Janeiro for the first time since 1924. There have also been suggestions 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. However, OCI President Pat Hickey earlier this week said he was misquoted with this offer to McIlroy. Speaking ahead of this week's BMW Masters, McDowell said the on-going speculation would be best decided by the IOC. ''Obviously Rory's come under a lot of scrutiny in the last couple of months for kind of saying he might play for Great Britain,'' McDowell said. ''We're kind of in a unique scenario in Northern Ireland in that we have one foot on each team . I think it's going to be a lot easier if someone makes the decision for us. ''"The Olympic Committee should step in and say that `you guys are either playing for Ireland or you're playing for Great Britain.''' McDowell said he'd be prepared to represent either Britain or Ireland, with his mother hailing from Catholic-dominated Republic of Ireland and his father from the Protestant-dominated North. ''It's going to be very difficult if we personally have to make that decision ... I always say that I come from a mixed religion family,'' McDowell said. ''My mum's Catholic and my dad is Protestant. ''And my mum would probably like me to play for Ireland, and my dad might like me to play for Britain,'' he added. ''But then I always kind of sit on the fence because that's exactly the only place I can sit. Let's say that I'd play for whatever team we have come 2016.''
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