McIlroy may reject Rio spot over Zika

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy says he could turn down the chance to play at the Olympics because of the Zika virus in Brazil.

The world number three from Northern Ireland is “monitoring” the spread of the virus, which is linked to brain deformities in newborn babies.

He said: “There’s going to be a point in the next couple of years where we’re (with fiancee Erica Stoll) going to have to think about starting a family.

“Right now I’m ready to go but I don’t want anything to affect that.”

Asked if there was a chance he might not go to Rio, McIlroy, replied: “Yeah.” But he added: “Right now I am going and looking forward to it.”

He was speaking just hours after securing his first Irish Open title.

Zika fears

Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Australian Mark Leishman have already pulled out of the Rio Games because of the Zika virus.

Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have also said they will not compete in the event, which will see golf returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

“As it gets closer I am relishing the thought of going down there and competing for gold,” McIlroy added.


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Rory McIlroy hopes to play in Rio

“But I have been reading a lot of reports about Zika and there have been some articles coming out saying that it might be worse than they’re saying and I have to monitor that situation.

“I am actually going to get my injections on Wednesday – at least I will be immunised for whatever… if I do get bitten by a mosquito down there.”

Green pride

The 27-year-old, who has won four majors, said he would be proud to represent Ireland this summer.

“I used to view the Olympics with a bit of resentment because it made me really think about who I was and where I was from,” the Co Down player added.

“If there was just a Northern Irish team I’d love to play for a Northern Irish team.

“But doesn’t quite work for that. I’ve always played golf for Ireland.

“We view golf in this island as the whole of Ireland and it’s what I’ve always done, and that’s what I’m going to down there – proud to put on that green shirt and compete for a gold.”

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