July 6, 2016 / 9:02 AM / 3 years ago

Spain's Garcia commits to Rio Games despite Zika fears

Sergio Garcia acknowledges the crowd as he walks to the 18th green during the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Oakmont Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports - RTX2H2XE

(Reuters) - Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia has committed to representing his country at the Rio Olympics, despite a host of his fellow professionals withdrawing from the Games citing fears concerning the Zika virus.

“I know there r some dangers but representing Spain, trying to make golf grow & becoming an Olympian r too important so I’ll be at @Olympics,” the world number 12 tweeted on his verified account. (@TheSergioGarcia)

Big names including world number one Jason Day, number four Rory McIlroy, Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa have all pulled out due to the virus, as golf marks a return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

The mosquito-borne disease can cause crippling birth defects in infants and has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre in adults.

The Rio Games will be held from Aug. 5-21.

Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien

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