Rory McIlroy drops out of Olympics over Zika virus concerns

Posted: 10:32 AM, Jun 22, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-22 11:32:36-04

The world's biggest sports competition is going to be without one of golf's biggest names.

Rory McIlroy, ranked No. 4 in the overall world standings, has decided not to compete in the Olympic Games because of concerns over the Zika virus.

McIlroy said  in a statement, "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." 

It can't be good news for the sport of golf, making its Olympic return after a  112-year absence , or for Ireland, which McIlroy had pledged to play for.

The virus is spread through mosquito bites and is known to cause birth defects. Brazil has been facing a Zika outbreak since  May 2015 .

It's unclear how risky it is to visit Rio de Janeiro this August. More than  100 distinguished physicians  and scientists have called for the Olympic games to be moved.

Just four months ago, the World Health Organization said Zika was "spreading explosively." But the organization has also maintained the risk for the Olympics is  very low . A Brazilian official cited a University of Cambridge study which found of the 500,000 foreign tourists traveling to the games, one will get infected.

McIlroy may have company. Rickie Fowler, the world's No. 6 ranked golfer, is reportedly also  questioning  if he'll play in the games.

This video includes clips from  WBBM CCTV CNN NBC  and  Nike  and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

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