Dustin Johnson became the third player ranked in the top four in the world to say he will skip golf’s return to the Olympics due to Zika virus concerns.
“As an athlete, I can think of no greater honor than representing the United States in the Olympic Games,” Johnson said in a statement Friday night, according to Golf Channel. “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. This was not an easy decision for me, but my concerns about the Zika virus cannot be ignored. [Wife] Paulina 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.”
Johnson, ranked No. 2 in the world, joins world No. 1 Jason Day of New Zealand and No. 4 Rory McIlroy of Ireland in opting out of the Rio Games due to Zika concerns. Golf returns to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.
Johnson is the first American currently in Olympic qualifying position to say he will skip Rio. World No. 3 Jordan Spieth has not decided if he will play.
The Olympic golf field will be determined by world rankings on Monday.
With Johnson out, the top four U.S. golfers are Spieth, No. 5 Bubba Watson, No. 7 Rickie Fowler and No. 13 Patrick Reed.
If any of them withdraw, No. 15 Matt Kuchar would be next up, should he not fall in the rankings Monday. No American ranked outside the top 15 can play in Rio due to country maximum limits.Follow @nzaccardi