24 May 2016

Zika may force McIIroy out of Rio Olympics

6:53 am on 24 May 2016

The world golf number three Rory McIlroy says he may skip the chance to play at the Olympics because of the Zika virus in Brazil.

The Northern Ireland golfer is "monitoring" the spread of the virus, which is linked to brain deformities in newborn babies.

"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," said the 27-year-old.

"Right now I'm ready to go but I don't want anything to affect that."

Golfer Rory McIIroy

Golfer Rory McIIroy Photo: Photosport

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.

Rory McIlroy.

"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."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.