Golf: Spieth not concerned about Zika virus at Rio

Jordan Spieth watches his tee shot during a practice round prior to the U.S. Open. Photo / Getty Images
Jordan Spieth watches his tee shot during a practice round prior to the U.S. Open. Photo / Getty Images

World No.2 golfer Jordan Spieth has played down fears that the Zika virus could affect his participation at the Rio Olympic Games, saying he is looking forward to the "tremendous honour" of representing his country in Brazil.

The 22-year old, who will defend his US Open title this week at Oakmont, had not categorically committed to the event over fears of the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to birth defects and developmental problems in babies.

However, Spieth said he was satisfied by the information given by the PGA Tour.

"Based on what's come to my knowledge at this point, it seems like it's going to be an extremely memorable experience," Spieth told reporters on Tuesday.

"I look forward to trying to win a gold for the United States.

"Do I think being an Olympian outweighs any significant health threat? No - If I thought that the threat was significant, I certainly would not go."

Australian world No.1 Jason Day also expressed doubt earlier this month about his participation over fears about the virus.

US health officials have concluded that Zika infections in pregnant women can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies.

The World Health Organization has said there is strong scientific consensus that Zika can also cause Guillain-Barre, a rare neurological syndrome that results in temporary paralysis in adults.

The connection between Zika and microcephaly first came to light last year in Brazil, which has confirmed more than 1400 cases of microcephaly that it considers to be related to Zika infections in the mothers.

The Rio Olympics take place from August 5-21.

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