McDowell prioritises Ryder Cup over Olympics: "I'm not going to get myself into a race with Shane or Padraig"

McDowell prioritises Ryder Cup over Olympics: "I'm not going to get myself into a race with Shane or Padraig"

Graeme McDowell on the 2016 Olympics: "I'm not going to get myself into a race with Shane or Padraig."

Graeme McDowell admits next year's schedule is "a mess" as the tours battle to squeeze in the majors and big events before the Olympic Games in Rio.

It's a headache for the top players to plan their schedules in what is also a Ryder Cup year and  McDowell appears to have decided to prioritise a place in Darren Clarke's European team ahead of battling Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington for a spot in Rio de Janeiro alongside Rory McIlroy.

Next year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will come the week after the US Open, meaning McDowell may not get to play in the French Open. which won in 2013 and 2014.

"I could probably see myself being in France, to be honest with you," McDowell said. "It's a golf course I prefer. It's a tournament which I want to be loyal to because of how good they've been to me and how much success has been there.

"The Ryder Cup race is going to be heating up. There's going to be a lot of things going on this time next year. Like I say, I can only allude to what I might do this time next year, but we'll just have to wait and see.

"Obviously, that's a long way off, and I hope I have schedule problems. I hope I'll be back in the top 20 in the world and having all these opportunities to play great golf around the world. It's an interesting looking summer, and it's going to be very interesting to see what guys choose to do."

cDowell hinted that he would remain loyal to Europe as much as possible even though many top events are being squeezed into a small window with the three summer majors coming in a six-week period.

"The European Tour is my home, and that's kind of where I learned this great game of golf, and I feel always loyal, and I feel like I owe them something at all times," he said. "But we're businessmen, and we're trying to be the best we can be, and you've got to make tough decisions sometimes as well. But the schedule is ... it's a mess next summer, let's be honest. There's no other way to put it.

"The PGA Tour has had to make some tough decisions. I don't blame them. It's just business. It's just one of those things. Hopefully, we'll be back to normal the following year. So it's only a one-year deal.

"Where will I be? I'll probably be in France, and I'm okay to sort of admit that. I'd like to have the option, like I say, but France has been very good to me, and that's probably where I'll have to be."

Making a fifth successive Ryder Cup team is a priority ahead of an Olympic medal.

"It's going to be difficult because Shane is obviously a fantastic player. Padraig has obviously shown some big signs as well," he said of the likely race for one place unless he can make the world's Top 15. "The race is going to be tough.  

"I'll be more interested in making the Ryder Cup team, to be honest with you, come that point in the season. That's always my focus. I think the Olympics are so hard to quantify.

"I'm not going to get myself into a race with Shane or Padraig. I'm just not going to get into a race with them. I'm going to be trying to take care of my own business and get myself on a Ryder Cup team and have a big 2016.

"If the Olympics gets in the way, great. I'm not going to get myself in a head-to-head battle with these guys. There's no point. I can only control my golf ball. Of course I'd love to be there, let's be honest."

Asked if he'd change his schedule to to try and get more points make the Ryder Cup team rather than the Olympics, he found the perfect answer.

"They're kind of different qualifying scenarios, aren't they? One's a point system, and the other is just a straight World Ranking system," he said. "The other one is obviously the more points accrued, the better. So it's a quantity game.

"Obviously, the World Rankings is a quality game. So they're kind of different, I think. I don't know. That was a hard question to answer. I'm glad I had a way to answer it."

PGA Tour schedule 2015-16

12-18 Open
19-25 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open,

26-1 CIMB Classic
2-8 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions,
9-15 OHL Classic at Mayakoba
16-22 The McGladrey Classic,

4-10 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, 
11-17 Sony Open in Hawaii,
18-24 CareerBuilder Challenge in partnership with Clinton Foundation,
25-31 Farmers Insurance Open

1-7 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 
8-14 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, 
15-21 Northern Trust Open,
22-28 The Honda Classic, 

29-6 WGC-Cadillac Championship,
7-13 Valspar Championship, 
14-20 Arnold Palmer Invitational 
21-27 WGC - Dell Match Play, 
21-27 Puerto Rico Open,

28-3 Shell Houston Open, 
4-10 Masters Tournament,
11-17 RBC Heritage, 
18-24 Valero Texas Open, 

25-1 Zurich Classic of New Orleans,
2-8 Wells Fargo Championship,
9-15 THE PLAYERS Championship,
16-22 AT&T Byron Nelson,
23-29 Colonial National Invitational Tournament,

30-5 the Memorial Tournament 
6-12 FedEx St. Jude Classic, 
13-19 U.S. Open, Oakmont CC
20-26 Quicken Loans National, 

27-3 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, 
27-3 Barracuda Championship, 
4-10 The Greenbrier Classic,     
11-17 The Open Championship, Royal Troon
11-17 Barbasol Championship,
18-24 RBC Canadian Open, 
25-31 US PGA Championship, Baltusrol

1-7 Travelers Championship, 
8-14 John Deere Classic, 
11-14 Olympic Men's Golf Competition, Olympic Golf Course, Rio de Janeiro
15-21 Wyndham Championship, 

FedExCup Playoffs

22-28 The Barclays GOLF / CBS Bethpage State Park (Black Course)

29-5 Deutsche Bank Championship (Monday Finish), 
5-11 BMW Championship,
19-25 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, 

26-2 Ryder Cup, Hazeltine National GC