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McIlroy for Ireland right choice in golf but not for Harrington

Padraig Harrington would not qualify for 2016 games ahead of McDowell and McIlroy based on current rankings

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Eoin Brennan
10:45 Thursday 25 April 2013

Padraig Harrington has admitted the possibility of the R&A deciding to force Northern Irish golfers to represent Ireland at the Olmpyic games in 2016 might not be the best for him. At the same time, the three time Major winner has stressed he feels it is the most sensible move available to golf’s authorities.

Harrington currently sits 53rd in the world and, as a result of Ireland’s representation at the games limited to two golfers, he would not qualify for the games ahead of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIllroy; both of whom are from Northern Ireland and face a tough, potentially politically loaded, decision  in the event the R&A do not make their decision for them.

Harrington told The Irish Independent, "It may not be good for me."

"The way I look at it, this is a sensible move and good for the game of golf."

"If I was in the ruling body, I'd make the same decision."

Harrington believes that, despite currently being far behind the two Northern Irish golfers, he can realistically aim to be in a position to qualify for the games.

"The way things stand at the moment, I'd not get in the team,” he said.

" I want to be in the top 15 in 2016 and again in 2020. That's the goal."

Harrington has undergone a tough time in recent years, with swing changes and varying tactics utilised to recapture his major winning form. He believes he is on the right track and can expect to be competing for a spot to Rio 2016.

"I'm physically fitter, stronger and have fewer injuries than at any other stage in my career and I hit the golf ball further than ever before. I don't putt and chip quite as well as I have in past years, but I don't put that down as an age or a mental thing, it's more of a practice issue. So, why not?”

Image: Padraig Harrington
©INPHO/Getty Images

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