Rory McIlroy Backs Out Of Olympics Over Health Fears
Golf's big day at the Olympics has been dealt a further blow after world number four and the most recognisable of the sport's young stars Rory McIlroy became the latest player to pull out of the competition over health fears.
McIlroy was due to represent Ireland in Rio de Janeiro later this summer as golf makes its first appearance at the Olympics for the first time since 1904 and only the third time in the history of the event.
The Northern Irish born golfer had wanted to play in the tournament but always maintained that any continued threat of the zika virus would make him think twice about it and those fears have clearly not gone away. Speaking about the decision the four time major winner said:
"After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration for this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"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.
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"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. "
The zika virus has become a big talking point ahead of the games in Brazil this summer and it is linked to defects in birth and many who are considering having children in the next couple of years have considered their position on going to the games. The virus is spread by mosquitos and because the games are during Brazil's winter there is reduced risk.
Golf is already without major names Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman and Vijay Singh for its return to the Olympics after 112 years, some for health reasons and some don't believe the tournament is important enough in their schedule raising questions about the sport's validity at being in the Olympics.
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