Add Marc Leishman to the list of top male golfers who have withdrawn themselves from consideration for golf’s return to the Olympic program in Brazil in August.
The Aussie’s decision is based on the spread of Zika virus, which is transmitted from mosquito bites to humans. The virus is known to cause birth defects when transmitted to pregnant women, and the virus can remain in the human body for at least 6 months.
Leishman’s wife, Audrey, has a weakened immune system after nearly dying in April 2015 from Toxic Shock Syndrome. The world No. 35 is concerned he could contract Zika in Brazil and transmit it to her.
“Last April, my children and I almost lost my wife Audrey to Toxic Shock Syndrome. Since then Audrey has been prone to infection and is far removed from 100 percent recovery of her immune system,” Leishman said in a statement released by the PGA of Australia.
“We have consulted with Audrey’s physician and due to her ongoing recovery and potential risks associated with the transmission of the Zika virus it was a difficult yet easy decision not to participate.”
Leishman joins fellow Aussie Adam Scott, former No. 1 Vijay Singh, South African major winners Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, as well Miguel Angel Jimenez as players who have announced they will skip the 72-hole, 60 player men’s Olympic golf tournament.
No player likely to compete in the 60-player women’s tournament has withdrawn their name from consideration.