Rory McIlroy rules himself out of Rio Olympics over Zika fears
By Stephen Turner
Last Updated: 22/06/16 11:47pm
Rory McIlroy says he will not compete at this summer's Olympic Games because of concerns over the Zika virus.
The world No 4 was in line to be selected for Ireland's Rio team in the first Olympic golf tournament for 112 years.
McIlroy said earlier this month he was preparing to make the trip after the advice of experts had put his mind at ease, but the Ulsterman now says the threat of infection is "a risk I am unwilling to take".
In a statement released on Wednesday he said: "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."
A statement from the Olympic Council of Ireland read: "The OCI is extremely disappointed not to be taking Rory with us to Rio.
"However, as we have always said, it is down to the individual and of course we respect his decision, which he has taken for personal reasons.
"Rory was set to be one of the big stars of Rio 2016, but now there is an opportunity for another Irish golfer to take up the chance to become an Olympian and participate in golf's historic return to the Olympic Games after a 112-year
Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman and Vijay Singh are other high-profile golfers to rule themselves out of Rio.
The International Olympic Committee has resisted calls to move the Games after consultation with the World Health Organisation.