Shane Lowry has followed the footsteps of Rory McIlroy and Jason Day in pulling out of the Olympics' golf event in August. Like Day and McIlroy, he has cited concerns over the Zika virus as his reason:
It is with a very heavy heart that I have had to make the decision over the past couple of days to withdraw from the upcoming Olympic games this August. Myself and my management team have been closely monitoring the Zika virus situation in South America for the past number of months, but based on a number of consultations with leading medical experts in recent days, I feel that I would be putting my family’s health at risk by being in Brazil at the current time.
Wendy and I have just recently been married and we hope to be lucky enough to have a family in the near future. Based on these circumstances, I have received firm medical advice that I should not travel to Rio this summer.
I have not taken this decision lightly and it has been a source of much anguish for me over the past week. I am a very proud Irishman and I love my country. Hence, I was really looking forward to walking out behind the Tricolour with the rest of the Irish Olympic team in Rio. While I am bitterly disappointed to be missing out on that experience and the opportunity to win an Olympic medal for Ireland, on this occasion I have to put my family’s welfare first.
I think most Irish people know what my country means to me. Representing Ireland has been a huge source of pride for me over the years and will continue to be in the future. I hope to represent Ireland at the World Cup of Golf in Australia later this year and I will work hard to be in a position to qualify to compete for Ireland again at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in four years time.
I would like to wish the entire Irish Olympic team the very best of luck in Rio. I know how hard they have all worked and the many sacrifices each athlete has made to get there. Like all Irish sports fans, I will be cheering them on hoping they can bring back a few medals and continue the proud tradition of Olympic success that we have in our great country.
Australian golfer Jason Day also announced this morning he would not be competing at Rio, also citing the Zika virus as his reason for pulling out. Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel have also pulled out of the Games.
#Golf Ireland, South Africa and Australia have each had 3 golfers withdraw from Rio 2016. Rest of the world have combined total of 2
— Hilary Evans (@OlympicStatman) June 28, 2016
Lowry's decision, following those of McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, means the two golfers currently in place to compete for Ireland are Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power.