Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open winner, withdrew from Olympic consideration Thursday, according to his social media, one day after countryman Rory McIlroy did the same.
McDowell’s statement cited his wife being due to give birth to the couple’s second child two weeks after the Olympic men’s golf tournament concludes. Unlike McIlroy, McDowell did not cite the Zika virus.
McDowell also didn’t become eligible for the Olympics until McIlroy withdrew due to caps on the number of players that can qualify per nation.
McDowell, ranked No. 73 in the world, and McIlroy, ranked No. 4, are both from Northern Ireland, but as Northern Ireland does not compete separately at the Olympics, would have played for Ireland.
McDowell and McIlroy are the fifth and sixth major champions to announce they will skip the Olympics, joining Fiji’s Vijay Singh, Australian Adam Scott and South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, who all mostly cited scheduling conflicts.
Without them, the Irish team is slated to be world No. 25 Shane Lowry, who tied for second at last week’s U.S. Open, and world No. 167 Padraig Harrington, a three-time major champion.Follow @nzaccardi