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Rory McIlroy: Coronavirus scare won't block my Olympic dream


Rory McIlroy has been talking coronavirus and his Masters preparation

Rory McIlroy has been talking coronavirus and his Masters preparation

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Rory McIlroy has been talking coronavirus and his Masters preparation

Rory McIlroy says the coronavirus won't prevent him making his Olympic debut this summer, providing the tournament as a whole gets the go-ahead.

The world number one sat out the 2016 Games in Brazil over the Zika virus outbreak but has since confirmed that he will compete for Ireland at this summer's tournament in Japan, admitting he didn't want to reach the end of his career having spurned the chance to win a gold medal.

Japan's Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto announced earlier this week that plans were proceeding as scheduled for the Olympics, and that any delay or cancellation would be 'unacceptable for the athletes'.

McIlroy is content to follow the advice of the organisers and says that, as long as the Games are played, he will compete alongside Open champion Shane Lowry, who has also refused to let the coronavirus stand in his way.

"It's something that we're trying to stay on top of," said McIlroy. "If the organisers and the Olympic Committee believe it's safe enough that athletes can go and compete in the Games, then you have to take their word for it.

"They're obviously liaising with the people that are the best at doing this, whether it's the World Health Organization or whatever it is. If they're speaking to those people and those people are the best in their field, then you have to trust that their judgement is the right one."

Organisers of the Masters, golf's first major of the year, have also confirmed that the tournament is currently set to go ahead as planned, although the coronavirus situation is being 'monitored closely'.

"We will continue to review the available facts and information with the experts and authorities, establish precautions and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of all involved," read a statement.

Should it go ahead, it will provide another opportunity for McIlroy to complete a Career Grand Slam by winning all four major championships.

But, he says, his focus hasn't yet shifted to the event which is still more than a month away.

"For some people it starts the Monday they arrive at Augusta, for some people it started in January," he said ahead of this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational. "I think it's different for everyone. I realised is I can't make things too big in my head. So if I started to gear up for Augusta in January, by the time Augusta got around in April my head would be absolutely fried.

"I try to push it out as late as possible. I've got four tournaments to play between now and then and those are my biggest concern."

Belfast Telegraph