Lydia Ko won't let Zika virus overshadow her Rio dream

Unlike the top men’s golfers who have pulled out of the Games, the World No 1 women’s player is thrilled at the prospect of becoming an Olympian for New Zealand

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 July, 2016, 6:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 July, 2016, 10:37pm

World number one Lydia Ko says she’s too excited about playing golf at the Olympic Games to worry about the Zika virus – and most other women on tour feel the same.

The top men’s golfers have pulled out of the Games in Rio de Janeiro, many citing Zika health concerns, prompting questions about the sport’s return to the Olympics after 112 years.

But Ko, 19, said she trusted the advice of health experts and was thrilled at the prospect of becoming an Olympian for New Zealand.

“I’m more excited about the Olympics, about the ceremony, about just being part of the Olympic vibe than worrying about the Zika virus,” she said.

“There are so many experts that are taking care of all that ... we’ve just got to trust them.”

The two-time major winner said other women golfers were similarly excited.

“To all the girls that I’ve talked to, that’s kind of the response,” Ko said as world No 3 men’s player Jordan Spieth announced his withdrawal from the Rio Games.

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“We’re all excited to go to Brazil and represent our countries and be there amongst the other Olympians,” said Ko.

“It’s unfortunate with what’s happening with the Zika, but we all trust the people that are taking care of it.”

Ko made similar comments ahead of the LPGA Marathon Classic in Ohio, saying: “If it was so dangerous that we couldn’t compete ... I’m sure they would pull us off.”

World number one Jason Day of Australia, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama are among the other top men who are not participating at the Rio Olympics.