Graeme McDowell has announced he will not compete at Rio 2016 for Ireland as he does not want to leave his pregnant wife.

McDowell's partner Kristin is due to give birth shortly after the Olympic Games and McDowell says he made the decision to avoid playing outside of the United States in the build-up.

After Rory McIlroy this week pulled out of the Ireland team due to fears over the Zika virus in Brazil, McDowell was expected to be next in line to make the team, along with Shane Lowry.

"I woke yesterday morning to the news that Rory McIlroy had withdrawn from the Irish Olympic Golf team, putting me in line for an automatic spot on the team," McDowell said in his statement.

"As many within golf will know, my wife Kristin is pregnant and is due to have our second child just a couple of weeks after the Olympic Golf competition concludes.

"I made the decision many months ago, before I was on the team, that I would not play or travel outside the US, where I and my family live, in the weeks running up to the birth.

"Unfortunately I will therefore not be available to replace Rory on the team. I have informed Paul McGinley and the Olympic Council of Ireland of my decision."

Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington is hoping he will benefit from the absence of McIlroy and McDowell by ensuring he will board the plane to Brazil.

He said in a statement: "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."