Golf is set to make its first return to the Olympic stage in more than 100 years, but some of the game’s top performers will be skipping out on the event – including the current top-ranked player in the world.
ESPN.com reports No. 1 male golfer in the world Jason Day has pulled out of the 2016 Rio Olympics on Tuesday due to concerns over Zika virus.
“The sole 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. “I have always placed my family in front of everything else in my life.”
Shane Lowry also withdrew from the competition today, joining a list which includes Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel, Adam Scott, Branden Grace, and Marc Leishman.
Like many athletes who are withdrawing from the upcoming Olympics, the concern of the Zika virus is too much of a worry to compete. It’s hard to blame athletes like Day for not wanting to risk the health of their families. While the chances of getting infected by Zika virus is reportedly at worst-case 3.2/100,000, that’s not a guarantee that athletes won’t be infected by the disease.
It’s unfortunate for Australia’s golf team that Day won’t be competing and possibly bringing home an Olympic gold medal, but I’m sure they understand his decision and hold no ill-will against the golfer. Day is only 28-years old so he’s got many more chances to compete. There’s no incentive for him to risk the health of his friends and family by going. It’s a commendable decision.