Graeme McDowell joins Rory McIlroy in ruling out Olympic bid

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Top golfer Graeme McDowell has followed fellow-Irishman Rory McIlroy in withdrawing his eligibility from the upcoming Olympics in Rio.

McDowell was next in line to be automatically chosen once McIlroy had ruled out the possibility of travelling to Brazil due to fear over the Zika virus.

The 36 year-old major winner has decided not to accept the offer to go for gold in the coming months, although made no reference to the disease in his statement.

"I made the decision many months ago, before I was on the team, that I would not travel," said McDowell.

"I have always been a proud member of Ireland's golf teams, from my amateur career through to playing in four World Cups of Golf and I wish the Irish Olympic team the very best of luck in Rio."

The International Golf Federation gave their immediate reaction to McDowell's decision by stating: 

"We recognise the unique circumstances for Graeme and his family and, while we are disappointed that he is not available for the Olympic Games, we sympathise with his position.

"There are many considerations for players but those who compete will have the opportunity to be part of a truly global celebration of sport," added the IGF.