WORLD No.1 Jason Day has joined the exodus of golfers not heading to the Olympic Games because of the fears of the Zika virus.
Australian Marc Leishman, Rory McIlroy, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Vijay Singh are others not going to Rio because of the potential risks over the mosquito-borne virus, which is linked to birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults.
“It is with deep regret I announce that I will not be competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games this coming August in Rio de Janeiro,” Day said in a statement.
“The reason for my decision is my concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife’s future pregnancies and to future members of our family.”
“I have always placed my family in front of everything else in my life.
“Medical experts have confirmed that while perhaps slight, a decision to compete in Rio absolutely comes with health risks to me and to my family.
“My wife Ellie and I have been blessed with two wonderful and healthy children and our plan is to have more.
“While it has always been a major goal to compete in the Olympics on behalf of my country, playing golf cannot take precedent over the safety of our family.”
Day said he hoped golf, which is back at the Games for the first time in 112years, continued to be an Olympic sport and intended to push for selection when the Games are in Tokyo in 2020.
“I will not place them (my family) at risk. I hope all golf and Olympics fans respect and understand my position,” he added.
Adam Scott and Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell will not be in Rio, citing different reasons.
With Scott and Leishman out of contention for the Aussie team, Scott Hend and Marcus Fraser are the next in line to go to the Games but Matt Jones could overtake them before the July 11 cut-off.