Golfer Jason Day to skip Olympics over Zika

Golfer Jason Day to skip Olympics over Zika
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Jason Day, the world's No. 1 ranked golfer, is sitting out this summer’s Olympics Games due to Zika virus fears.

“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,” Day said in a statement posted to social media.

“Medical experts have confirmed that while perhaps slight, a decision to compete in Rio absolutely comes with health risks to me and my family. My wife Ellie and I have been blessed with two wonderful and healthy children and our plan is to add more," Day added.

“While it has always been a major goal to compete in the Olympics on behalf of my country, playing golf cannot take precedence over the safety of our family. I will not place them at risk.”


Day, a 28-year-old Australian, joins other prominent athletes skipping this summer’s games.

Rory McIlroy, the No. 4 golfer in the world, said last week he would no longer represent Ireland in the Olympics.

Day’s absence leaves golf without three of its top 10 players after a 112-year absence from the Olympics. Other prominent golfers who plan on skipping Brazil include Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Marc Leishman.

Zika, which is spread by mosquitoes and through sexual contact, is not a serious risk for most adults. The virus can cause a severe birth defect called microcephaly, however, which leaves infants with abnormally small heads and brain problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month three babies have been born in the U.S. with birth defects caused by Zika.

In three other cases, women have has miscarriages or terminated pregnancies with babies suffering from birth defects related to the virus, the agency added.