World number four Rory McIlroy cites Zika virus concerns in a statement released today

TAGS:

Rory McIlroy Pulls Out of Olympic Games

Rory McIlroy has announced that he won’t be competing in Rio this summer at the Olympics.

The world number four cited concerns regarding the Zika virus which can lead to birth defects in babies.

McIlroy is the latest name to pull out after other high profile names such as Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Vijay Singh.

Leishman and Singh, like McIlroy, cited the Zika virus as the main reason for their pull-outs.

Rory McIlroy released this statement today:

“After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero.

“After speaking with those closest to me, I’ve come to realise that my health and my family’s health comes before anything else. Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take.

“I trust the Irish people will understand my decision. The unwavering support I receive every time I compete in a golf tournament at home or abroad means the world to me.

“I will continue to endeavour to make my fans and fans of golf proud with my play on the course and my actions off it.”

Rory McIlroy caused media interest when deciding whether he would represent GB or Ireland at the games before he chose to compete for Ireland.

The Ulsterman looks to be replaced by Graeme McDowell in Team Ireland who will join world number 25 Shane Lowry.

It’s the first time that golf will feature in the Olympics since 1904.

Last week, world number two Jordan Spieth hinted that he would play the Olympics in his pre-US Open press conference.

Next: How to qualify for the Olympics?