There have been big names to bow out of Olympic Golf contention including major champions Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Vijay Singh, but the latest player to announce his hesitation to compete in the Games is the biggest star yet.
Rory McIlroy told media members following his win at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation that he is closely “monitoring” the situation in Brazil, especially as it pertains to the Zika virus.
Rory McIlroy has admitted to concerns over the Zika virus’s threat to the Olympic Games, conceding for the first time he may reconsider his participation in Rio this summer. The four-time major winner is due to play golf for Ireland in Brazil and has previously spoken of his desire to see the sport embraced on its return to the Games. However, with rising coverage of Zika’s potential impact, the 27-year-old has admitted to a personal dilemma. The virus is said to be particularly dangerous for those looking to have children.
Speaking to the BBC on Monday, McIlroy said he is “monitoring” the situation. His body language was arguably more telling than his words. McIlroy said: “There’s going to be a point in the next couple of years where we [McIlroy and his fiancée, Erica Stoll] are 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.”
Pressed on whether that meant he could withdraw, McIlroy added: “I mean, yeah …Right now I am going and looking forward to it.”
Vijay Singh, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have already said they will not feature in Rio. The absence of McIlroy would be even more keenly felt by event organizers, with golf’s longer-term Olympic future still to be determined.
“As it gets closer, I am relishing the thought of going down there and competing for gold,” McIlroy said. “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 are saying. I have to monitor that situation.
“I am actually going to get my injections on Wednesday. At least I will be immunized for whatever … if I do get bitten by a mosquito down there.”