Rio Olympics 2016: Shane Lowry pulls out over Zika fears

World number 25 Shane Lowry is the latest Irish golfer to withdraw from this year's Olympic Games in Rio
World number 25 Shane Lowry is the latest Irish golfer to withdraw from this year's Olympic Games in Rio

Shane Lowry is the latest Irish golfer to withdraw from the Olympic Games in Rio over concerns about the Zika virus.

Lowry said on Tuesday it is "with a heavy heart" that he has decided not to represent Ireland in Brazil in August.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have already pulled out because of fears over the mosquito-borne virus, linked to defects in newborn babies.

The Irish trio are among several top players to withdraw from Rio, including Australia's world number one Jason Day.

Lowry said he had taken the decision in conjunction with his wife after consultations with leading medical experts in recent days.

"Wendy and I have just recently been married and we hope to be lucky enough to have a family in the near future.

"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.

"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."

Lowry added that he hopes to represent Ireland at the World Cup of Golf in Australia later this year and at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.