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Jason Day to skip Olympics over Zika fears

By The Sports Xchange
Jason Day to skip Olympics over Zika fears
Jason Day of Australia tees off on the first hole in the final round at the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 19, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

World No. 1 Jason Day announced he will not participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro due to concerns about the Zika virus.

"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 in a statement Tuesday. "I will not place them at risk."

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Day and his wife, Ellie, have two small children, including seven-month-old daughter Lucy.

"I have always placed my family in front of everything else in my life," Day said. "Medical experts have confirmed that while perhaps slight, a decision to compete in Rio absolutely comes with health risks to me and my family".

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Day joins several marquee players who will not participate when golf returns to the Olympics in August for the first time in 112 years. Fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy announced last week that he will not play for Northern Ireland and No. 8 Adam Scott will not play for Australia. With No. 39 Marc Leishman also withdrawing from consideration, the top two qualifiers for Australia are currently Danny Lee (No. 45) and Scott Hend (75).

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Others skipping the Rio Games include South Africans Branden Grace (12), Louis Oosthuizen (18) and Charl Schwartzel, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell (76) and Fiji's Vijay Singh (119).

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Shane Lowry of Ireland also pulled out Tuesday.

While three of the top 10 players in the world will not be in Rio, No. 3 Dustin Johnson said he intends to play, as have No. 5 Henrik Stenson and No. 6 Bubba Watson. No. 2 Jordan Spieth and No. 7 Rickie Fowler have not made final decisions.

The field of players for the Olympics will be finalized on July 11.

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