3 Jul 2016

Olympics just not the pinnacle for golfers says McIIroy

7:53 am on 3 July 2016

An Olympic gold medal is simply not the pinnacle of the sport for golfers says world No.4 Rory McIlroy who has no concerns about his decision to withdraw from the Rio Games.

The Northern Irishman withdrew from the Rio Games last week, citing concerns about the Zika virus, though he also told British media the Olympics were not one of his goals.

Rory McIIroy

Rory McIIroy Photo: Photosport

"Most other athletes dream their whole lives of competing in the Olympics, winning an Olympic gold, and we haven't," McIlroy told British media. "We dream of winning Claret Jugs and we dream of winning green jackets (at Augusta National).

"I've said to people I have four Olympic Games a year. That's my pinnacle. That's what I play for. That's what I'll be remembered for."

Australia's world No.1 Jason Day, Fiji's Vijay Singh and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa have also pulled out due to concerns over the virus. World No.8 Adam Scott withdrew, citing a congested playing schedule.

Organisers and the World Health Organisation have said the risk of contracting the virus, which can cause birth defects and been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre in adults, was low.

McIlroy, however, was not prepared to take the risk.

"Jason Day has a young family. I'm getting married next year," McIlroy said. ""People just aren't comfortable going down there and putting themselves or their family at risk."

"If the Olympics were in most other cities or countries, you wouldn't find as many people not wanting to go."

"There's another Games in Tokyo in 2020 and I'm more than happy to wait until then to get that Olympic experience."

Top Chinese woman golfer Shanshan Feng will compete at the Rio Games despite concerns over Zika.

But the world No.12 said she feared for the sport's Olympic future following some high-profile withdrawals from the men's competition.

"This is my first Olympic Games and might be my last, so this is my only chance," Feng said ahead of the Kumho Tire Ladies Open, adding that she was not planning to have a baby in the next two or three years.

"I would not skip this chance for such a thing (Zika virus). Furthermore, I think China golf needs this Olympic Games. As a Chinese golfer I must take part."

"As for Zika virus, I believe in our science and technology."

-Reuters

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