Tuesday 17 October 2017

Bad news for Rory McIlroy as Zika virus reaches homestead Florida

Rory McIlroy and fiancee Erica Stoll Picture: Darren Kidd /Press Eye
Rory McIlroy and fiancee Erica Stoll Picture: Darren Kidd /Press Eye

Tom Rooney

Having cited the risk of contracting the Zika virus as their reason for withdrawing from the Rio Olympics, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, whose wife is pregnant, will be seriously unsettled to hear that it has been detected in Florida, where they both live.

US officials announced that four cases of the virus has been contracted via mosquito bites in the state, where McIlroy resides with his fiancée Erica Stoll in the coastal town of Jupiter, in a plush mansion he purchased in 2012.

When deciding against representing Ireland in golf’s first appearance at the games in 104 years, McIlroy claimed that it was his desire to start a family with Stoll that precluded him from taking part.

He said: "After speaking with those closest to me, I’ve come to realise that my health and my family’s health comes before anything else. Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take.

"I trust the Irish people will understand my decision. The unwavering support I receive every time I compete in a golf tournament at home or abroad means the world to me.

Read more: Pregnant women warned against Florida travel after Zika alert

"I will continue to endeavour to make my fans and fans of golf proud with my play on the course and my actions off it."

For Graeme McDowell the development will be far more jarring as his Floridian wife Kristian is expecting their child very soon.

McDowell followed McIlroy’s lead in forgoing the Olympics, stating that he was unwilling to travel beyond the America in the immediate build up to his child’s birth for fear of contracting the virus.

“ I made my decision many months ago – before I made the team, that I would not play or travel outside the US, where I and my family live, in the weeks running up to the birth.’

Both McIlroy and McDowell, along with Shane Lowry and Darren Clarke, yesterday failed to make the cut at the US PGA Championship. Padraig Harrington will be Ireland’s sole representative in New Jersey over the weekend.

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