GOLF: Rory McIlroy may miss Olympics amid Zika virus concerns

Irish Open Champion, Rory McIlroy, called into Carton House to wish the Northern Ireland team good luck ahead of EURO 2016
Irish Open Champion, Rory McIlroy, called into Carton House to wish the Northern Ireland team good luck ahead of EURO 2016

Newly crowned Irish Open golf champion Rory McIlroy may turned down the chance to play at the Olympics due to the Zika virus in Brazil.

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

He told BBC Sport NI: “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.”

Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Australian Marc 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 sees golf return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 - for scheduling reasons.

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

“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.”

Meanwhile, McIlroy hopes his winning touch will rub off on the Northern Ireland football team as they prepare for the Euro 2016 finals this summer.

McIlroy rushed straight from his Irish Open victory at the K Club on Sunday to the south Dublin training camp of Michael O’Neill’s men.

Northern Ireland said on their official Twitter account: “Fantastic to have Irish Open Champion @McIlroyRory visit and to wish the players good luck ahead of @UEFAEURO”.

On Friday night, McIlroy made the short dash from the K Club to the RDS in Dublin to watch Ulster play Leinster in the Guinness PRO12 semi-final.