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Shane Lowry withdraws from Rio Olympics due to medical advice

Shane Lowry joins the likes of Rory McIlroy and Jason Day in pulling out of the Rio Olympics due to concerns over the Zika virus.

Shane Lowry has announced that he will not take part at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer due to concerns over the Zika virus.

Lowry's decision follows in quick succession to those of Rory McIlroy and world number one Jason Day, who have both pulled out recently due to health concerns.

The 29-year-old's withdrawal is down to medical advice due to the Zika virus outbreak in the city.

"It is with a heavy heart that I have made the decision over the past couple of days to withdraw from the upcoming Olympic Games this August," Lowry said in a statement.

"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."

The Olympic Council of Ireland quickly expressed its disappointment at the decision, but insists that it understands Lowry's reasons.

"The OCI is disappointed to hear of the news that Shane Lowry is withdrawing from Rio 2016 due to his concerns over the Zika virus," it said in a statement.

"However, as we have always said, it is down to the individual and of course we respect Shane's decision, which he has taken for personal reasons. The OCI already note that we are very fortunate to have three-time major champion Padraig Harrington who now looks likely to gain automatic qualification.

"Seamus Power is currently the next highest ranked Irish player and his possible qualification will be determined on the July 11."

A number of other high-profile players, including Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh, have pulled out for similar reasons, while Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell will also miss the Games.

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Branden Grace of South Africa putts on the 17th green during the second round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Golf Club on December 12, 2014
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