Rory McIlroy wants to start a family with fiancee Erica Stoll in the next couple of years, and the 27-year-old has concerns that Zika virus in Rio could inhibit that.
That’s why the newly crowned Irish Open winner hasn’t ruled out taking a pass on the 2016 Olympic golf tournament.
“There’s going to be a point in the next couple of years where we’re going to have to think about starting a family,” McIlroy said, according to the BBC. “Right now I’m ready to go but I don’t want anything to affect that.”
McIlroy, who intends to represent the Republic of Ireland in the Olympics, has been reading reports about the spread of Zika, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, including its spread in Brazil, estimates of how long it remains in the body and the effects the virus could have on babies developing in the womb. McIlroy is planning to get immunized for as many diseases as possible that can be communicated by mosquito bite. However, without a shot to inoculate against Zika, McIlroy realizes he would be taking a chance.
“As it gets closer I am relishing the thought of going down there and competing for gold,” McIlroy said. “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.”
Were McIlroy to turn down an opportunity to play in the Olympics, he would join the likes of Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Marc Leishman, Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez who have all withdrawn their names from consideration. Such a decision, however, might make his previous statements on the Olympics appear prophetic.
Two weeks ago at the Wells Fargo Championship, McIlroy said the rash of players withdrawing could negatively impact how the International Olympic Committee perceives the sport and affect the sport’s future in the Olympic program beyond the two Games the sport is guaranteed in the program.
“It’s obviously being played in Rio this year and it’s being played in Tokyo in 2020. I’m not sure if we’re going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after that depending on what happens,” McIlroy said.
He added, “If we don’t somehow change the narrative of getting people more excited about it…I’m worried.”