Search icon


22nd Jun 2016

Rory McIlroy withdraws from competing in Olympics for Ireland due to Zika virus fears


Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he will not compete at the Olympic Games in Rio.

The Holywood native announced that he has bowed out of representing Ireland this summer in Rio over the threat of the Zika virus.

Golfing returns to the Olympic Games this year for the first time since 1904.

In a statement issued this morning, McIlroy explained his decision and thanked fans for the “unwavering support”.

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 realize 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 endeavor to make my fans and fans of golf proud with my play on the course and my actions off it.

The Zika Virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, which are present in all of the Americas except Chile and Canada. The virus is primarily transmitted via mosquito bites but can also be transmitted sexually.

Most people who contract the virus suffer minor symptoms however the virus poses a threat to pregnant women as the virus can lead to babies being born with small heads and underdeveloped brains.

Speaking to the BBC last month, McIlroy admitted that he and his fiancée Erica Stoll were concerned about the long-term effects of the virus if the 27-year-old was to contract it while in Brazil.

“There’s going to be a point in the next couple of years where we’re 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.

“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.”

Mc Ilroy joins fellow golfers Vijay Singh, Mark Leishman Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, who have already withdrawn from participating over worries relating to the virus.