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Published: 15:22 | 28/6/16

Lowry joins Olympic absentees

Zika virus behind his decision

Shane Lowry has joined Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in withdrawing his name from consideration for the upcoming Rio Olympics.

Golf will return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 but a number of players have opted not to compete in Brazil due to concerns over the Zika virus.

McIlroy and Jason Day are among those who have already stated their intention not to travel to Brazil following advice from medical professionals, while McDowell has opted out due to the impending arrival of his second child.

Lowry had been expected to represent Ireland alongside three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, but the Offaly native has confirmed he will not compete due to the risks.

"It is with a very heavy heart that I have had to make the decision over the past couple of days to withdraw from the upcoming Olympic games this August. Myself and my management team have been closely monitoring the Zika virus situation in South America for the past number of months, but based on a number of consultations with leading medical experts in recent days, I feel that I would be putting my family’s health at risk by being in Brazil at the current time," Lowry explained.

"Wendy and I have just recently been married and we hope to be lucky enough to have a family in the near future. Based on these circumstances, I have received firm medical advice that I should not travel to Rio this summer.

"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. Hence, I was really looking forward to walking out behind the Tricolour with the rest of the Irish Olympic team in Rio. 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.

"I think most Irish people know what my country means to me. Representing Ireland has been a huge source of pride for me over the years and will continue to be in the future. I hope to represent Ireland at the World Cup of Golf in Australia later this year and I will work hard to be in a position to qualify to compete for Ireland again at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in four years’ time.

"I would like to wish the entire Irish Olympic team the very best of luck in Rio. I know how hard they have all worked and the many sacrifices each athlete has made to get there. Like all Irish sports fans, I will be cheering them on hoping they can bring back a few medals and continue the proud tradition of Olympic success that we have in our great country."

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Shane Lowry and Seamus Power both made fine starts to a rain-affected first day at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

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