Wednesday, June 1, 2016

After researching Zika, McIlroy ready to compete in Rio Olympics

Rory McIlroy has done his homework, and now he's ready to give his answer: The world No. 3 will play in the Olympic golf tournament.

After McIlroy won the Irish Open two weeks ago, McIlroy said he was concerned about the spread of Zika virus and was considering skipping the sport's return to the Olympic program after a 112-year absence. McIlroy cited a desire to start a family with fiancee Erica Stoll in the coming years and a lack of certainty about how long Zika can remain in someone's system.

Following consultation with medical experts, McIlroy's concerns have been assuaged.

"I'm ready to play," McIlroy said Wednesday ahead of this week's Memorial Tournament in Ohio.

"I feel like the advice I've sought out over the past 10 days has put my mind at ease and makes me more comfortable going down there knowing that, even if I do contract Zika, it's not the end of the world. It takes six months to pass through your system, and you're fine."

Particularly helpful was knowing that there is testing to indicate if someone has contracted Zika, which is spread largely by mosquitoes and can cause birth defects.

"You can get tested for it, and it's either a yes or a no you've had it," he said. "It's a virus. It works its way out of your system, and you become immune to it."

McIlroy is a lock to make the 60-player men's tournament. Despite his native Northern Ireland's affiliation with Great Britain, McIlroy has chosen to represent the Republic of Ireland in Brazil.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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