American golfer Dustin Johnson has pulled out of the upcoming Rio Olympics 2016 due to Zika virus concerns. Johnson who is currently ranked as the number two golf player in the world made this decision after careful consideration with family and friends.
Johnson who won last month's US Open was United States of America's biggest hope in securing a gold medal considering he has been in brilliant form during 2016. His withdrawal from the summer games now means that world number three Jordan Spieth will now lead the country's golf contingent in Brazil.
"As an athlete, I can think of no greater honour than representing the United States in the Olympic Games. However, after much careful consideration and discussion with both my family and my team, I have made the decision to withdraw from the 2016 Olympic Games", he said in a statement.
"This was not an easy decision for me, but my concerns about the Zika virus cannot be ignored. Pauline and I plan to have more children in the near future, and I feel it would be irresponsible to put myself, her or our family at risk. I believe I am making the right decision for me and most importantly my family. While I am sure some will be critical of my decision, my hope is that most will understand and support it. That being said, those who choose to compete in Rio certainly have my respect and best wishes for an unforgettable and safe experience."
Johnson is the latest in a list of high-profile golfers to withdraw from the games, a list which includes current world number one Jason Day and Irish superstar Rory McIlroy. In total 15 golfers have chosen not to travel to Brazil with five of them ranked in the top-20.
List of golfers to withdraw from Rio Olympics 2016:
1) Jason Day (1)- Australia
2) Dustin Johnson (2)- United States of America
3) Rory McIlroy (3)- Northern Ireland
4) Adam Scott (8)- Australia
5) Branden Grace (11)- South Africa
6) Louis Oosthuizen (14)- South Africa
7) Hideki Matsuyama (17)- Japan
8) Charl Schwartzel (23)- South Africa
9) Marc Leishman (37)- Australia
10) Graeme McDowell (73)- Northern Ireland
11) Miguel Angel Jimenez (166)- Spain
12) Vijay Singh (210)- Fiji
13) Camilo Villegas (306)- Colombia
14) Brendon de Jonge (319)- Zimbabwe
15) Tim Wilkinson (340)- New Zealand