WORLD number one Jason Day has confirmed his withdrawal from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio but has committed to at least two events in the upcoming Aussie summer of golf.
Concerns over the Zika virus and his plans with wife Ellie to have more children will keep him out of golf’s return to the Olympics, but in a big week of announcements the 28 year old says he has signed on for the Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney from November 17-20, and the World Cup of Golf the following week at Kingston Heath in Melbourne.
There has been no official hint yet but it would also seem a big chance the Queenslander would also stick around the following week for the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been back home, obviously some injuries and some pregnancies that we’ve had has caused me not to come back,” Day said this week.
“I’ve missed Australia very much, and I’m looking forward to getting back there and playing and representing Australia in the World Cup.”
He was also looking forward to returning to Royal Sydney, where he finished T6 behind Rory McIlroy in 2013. He finished T4 behind T4 behind Greg Chalmers at The Lakes in 2011.
“The Australian Open holds a special spot in my heart and I’d love to get my name on that trophy one day – hopefully this November,” he said as part of his Sydney announcement.
“It’s a tournament I’ve always cherished, just as I know some of the sport’s greats have through the years.”
“I really enjoyed the Royal Sydney layout in 2013 and it was such a good atmosphere around such a great historic course,” he said.
“I’m sure the crowds will be huge again in November – I can’t wait to come home and give it my best shot.”
Day joins Adam Scott and growing list missing the Olympics
As far as the Olympic go, Day said he couldn’t risk the threat posed to his family from the Zika virus.
He joined a growing list of withdrawals that most recently includes Shane Lowry.
His departure leaves Scott Hend and Marcus Fraser as Australia’s likely Olympic representatives.
Day released the following statements about his Olympics decision:
“It is with deep regret I announce that I will not be competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games this coming August in Rio de Janeiro.
“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.
“I have always placed my family in front of everything else in my life. Medical experts have confirmed that while perhaps slight, a decision to compete in Rio absolutely comes with health risks to me and to my family.
“My wife Ellie and I have been blessed with two wonderful and healthy children and our plan is to have more. 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. I will not place them at risk.
“I have informed Coach Ian Baker Finch and Stephen Pitt the CEO of Golf Australia of my difficult decision. I hope all golf and Olympics fans respect and understand my position.
“In closing, I would like to thank all of those who have supported me throughout my career and extend my best wishes to all participants. Especially the entire Australian Olympic Team as they pursue their dreams in Rio de Janeiro.”