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Shane Lowry and Jason Day join list of Rio withdrawls over Vika fears

By Carl Markham

Published 29/06/2016

No go: Shane Lowry has cited Zika virus fears for his Olympics decision
No go: Shane Lowry has cited Zika virus fears for his Olympics decision

World No.1 Jason Day and Ireland's Shane Lowry are the latest high-profile golfers to pull out of the Rio Olympics because of fears over the Zika virus.

Both cited worries over health risks to their families as a reason for the decision, echoing the comments of four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy, who also withdrew last week.

Lowry was scheduled to partner Northern Irishman McIlroy at the event but then found himself teamed with three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington. His decision to withdraw now means Harrington will partner Seamus Power, the next highest-ranked Irish player.

"It is with deep regret I announce that I will not be competing in the 2016 Olympic Games," Day said in a statement. "The reason is my concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife's future pregnancies.

"While it has always been a major goal to compete in the Olympics on behalf of my country, it cannot take precedent over the safety of our family. I hope all golf and Olympics fans respect and understand my position."

Among the other golfers not going to Rio in August because of Zika fears are Day's fellow Australian Marc Leishman, South African trio Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, and Vijay Singh.

World No.8 Adam Scott and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell have declined to go for other reasons.

Lowry, however, was concerned about medical issues. He said: "Wendy and I have just recently been married and we hope to be lucky enough to have a family. Based on these circumstances, I have received firm medical advice that I should not travel to Rio."

Masters champion Danny Willett, though, looks set to play in Rio.

"The only reason you wouldn't go would be because of concerns about Zika," he said at a press conference.

"I've spoken to my wife Nicola about it a lot, and we have concerns, but I still want to play."

Willett said he had spoken to Justin Rose and he also plans to compete.

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