Jason Day and Shane Lowry announced on Tuesday that they will not represent their countries in the 2016 Olympics men’s golf tournament over fears of Zika virus.
Day said a decision to compete in Rio de Janeiro would “absolutely come with health risks to me and to my family.” With hopes of adding to the two children he has with wife Ellie, Day said, in part, “playing golf cannot take precedent over the safety of our family.”
— Jason Day (@JDayGolf) June 28, 2016
Zika virus, when transmitted to a pregnant woman, can cause birth defects and other health complications.
The decision may not be all that surprising considering Day’s allusions at last week’s PGA Championship media day, saying he wanted to add to his family and had to consider that as a factor in his choice. Day had made the choice last week, but he didn’t want to announce it so as to take away from the Quicken Loans National, hosted by friend and mentor Tiger Woods.
Lowry, who was married in the spring, wants to start his family in the near future and has similar fears at the Days.
“Based on these circumstances, I have received firm medical advice that I should not travel to Rio this summer,” Lowry said in a statement released shortly after Day’s decision.
Statement on my Olympic Games participation pic.twitter.com/KY4YBzFa3g
— Shane Lowry (@ShaneLowryGolf) June 28, 2016
The 29-year-old Irishman and the 28-year-old Day join Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, Tim Wiklinson, Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez as players who have withdrawn their names from consideration.