Padraig Harrington wants to be a golden oldie at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The triple major winning Dubliner, 38, stated the case for golf being included in the games after an absence of 112 years.

And his presence worked like a charm as golf got the nod after a vote by the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen yesterday.

While Harrington will be pushing 45 when the games go to Brasil, he’s determined to be the oldest swinger in town so that he gets his chance to win Olympic gold.

Speaking in the Danish capital, Harrington said: “It's seven years away but physically I should be capable of continuing for a number of years. Competing in the Olympics gives me the motivation to push on - I want to be there in 2016.

“Being an Olympian is a big deal in Ireland, one of the greatest honours for any Irish person, and I want to be one.”

Harrington doesn’t want to turn up like a VIP for the four day tournament but intends to stay in the Olympic Village and rub shoulders with all the other athletes.

Padraig Harrington and Michelle Wie were in CopenhagenHe said: “As well as staying in the Olympic village, I believe attending the opening and closing ceremonies are every bit as important for being an Olympian as the actual competing.

“I may and hopefully will get one chance to be an Olympian and I am going to make the most of it and enjoy the whole two weeks and not turn up just for four days.

“Only one guy is going to win a gold medal so it is important that the rest of us enjoy the experience of being an Olympian.”

Harrington would turn 45 ten days after the 2016 Olympics and while he’s already got three majors in the bag, he reckons that an Olympic gold medal would be just as important as any Claret Jug or green jacket.

He said: “I do believe in time the Olympic gold will become the most important event in golf and I don't believe it will take that long.

“In the four years between the Olympics there will be 16 majors, so winning gold will be that much more special.”

Golf was only approved by 63 votes to 27 with two abstentions and Harrington reckons that the sport’s elitist image could be to blame for the no votes.

He said: “I believe it was a stumbling block and could have caused some of those votes against us.

“But being in the Olympics will help change - it has changed over the last 20 years, and 99 percent of the professional players are not from elite backgrounds.”

There will be both men’s and women’s gold medals up for grabs with the top 15 in the world rankings guaranteed places in the 60-strong fields.

As things stand, world No 7 Harrington would represent Ireland but No 19 Rory McIlroy would be out in the cold if he goes ahead as planned and declares for Great Britain.

That would leave the door open for Ulsterman Graeme McDowell to join Harrington in Rio while in the women’s competition, Ireland would be represented by Hazel Kavanagh and Rebecca Coakley.

The majority of European Tour players are delighted at the news but Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke isn’t one of them.

Clarke said: "I've always been against it because I grew up watching the Olympics and to me they are an amateur event.

"I know things have changed with tennis in there and basketball and all that. I can see why they are doing it to grow the sport around the world, but personally I don't think it should be in it.

"That's just my opinion. It will help to make the game bigger and if I had the opportunity to play I probably would.''