Harrington believes he can win Olympic gold in Rio

Home

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington is excited to compete in the Rio Olympics and believes he can bring home a gold medal.

Some of the best golfers in the world have passed up on the opportunity to play at the games this summer due to concerns over the Zika virus and busy schedules.

However, Harrington accepted the invitation from Ireland to compete following the high-profile withdrawals from Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell and he can't wait to get started.

"I'm really looking forward to Rio. My whole family are going," he told Reuters following a practice session at Baltusrol, ahead of the PGA Championship on Thursday.

"We're busy getting our tickets organized for the second week that we're there. It's a big deal for us."

McIlroy and McDowell withdrew citing concerns over the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been suspected of leading to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

The World Health Organisation has announced the infection is spreading rapidly in the Americas and world number one Jason Day, along with Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth have all pulled out.

Despite concerns of others, Harrington will be competing as part of a 60-man Rio field and is hoping to come away victorious.

"I'm going down there to try and win. No doubt about it, I believe I can win," said Harrington, who is ranked 150th in the world.

The 44-year-old Irishman insists he planned his summer around playing the Olympics and two majors.

"I wanted to do my preparation for all three and if I played well in one of those three would have a good chance of winning," he said.

"It didn't happen at the (British) Open. I've won three majors and I'm happy to take either," he said of the PGA or the Olympics.

"I could understand if you haven't won a major, making that more of a priority. But I think an Olympic gold would add a lot to my career."