Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland has announced that he will be withdrawing from the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro because of the threat posed by the Zika virus. The 27-year-old announced his decision in a statement on Wednesday.

"After speaking with those closest to me, I've come to realise that my health and my family's health comes before anything else," said McIlroy. "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."

Though golf is making a return to the Olympics after more than a century – after last being played at the 1904 edition – many high-profile players like Vijay Singh and Marc Leishman have already withdrawn for the same reason. Other athletes have also expressed concern and have considered withdrawing over the threat of the virus.