Australia will be without its top three golfers at the 2016 Olympics after Jason Day officially withdraws.
After some consideration, world number one Jason Day has officially announced he is withdrawing from playing in the Rio Olympics due to Zika virus fears.
In a statement issued today, Day cited the virus as his primary concern and will put the health of his family ahead of a chance at Olympic gold:
“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. 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.
I will not place them at risk. I have informed Coach Ian Baker Finch and Stephen Pitt the CEO of Golf Australia of my difficult decision. I hope all golf and Olympics fans respect and understand my position. In closing, I would like to thank all of those who have supported me throughout my career and extend my best wishes to all participants. Especially the entire Australian Olympic Team as they pursue their dreams in Rio de Janeiro.”
The next best Australians on the world golf rankings will now be asked to represent Australia – most likely Scott Hend and Marcus Fraser, currently 75th and 81st in the world respectively.
South Africa and Ireland will also be without some of their best players at the Rio Olympics.
Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have all indicated they will skip the Olympics due to Zika virus fears while Ireland will be without Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell who have withdrawn for the same reason.