Former world number one Vijay Singh says he will skip this summer's Rio Olympics, citing the Zika virus as the reason.
The Fijian told the Golf Channel ahead of this week’s RBC Heritage at Hilton Head that he would instead work on his game on the PGA Tour.
“I would like to play the Olympics, but the Zika virus, you know. . . ” Singh said. “I feel bad, I wanted to play and finally decided against it. It’s in the middle of the Tour over here and I’m trying to figure out my game.”
Zika, transmitted by mosquitoes, is spreading rapidly in the Americas, according to the World Health Organisation. Much about the virus remains unknown, including whether it actually causes microcephaly in babies. Recent health ministry figures put the number of confirmed and suspected cases of microcephaly in Brazil associated Zika at about 5,200.
Several US athletes said in March they had concerns about the virus, and would monitor the situation ahead of the Games.
Meanwhile, former champion Graeme McDowell is the lone Irish player in the field at Harbour Town Golf Links. And Steve Stricker and Nick Price have been named as the captains for the 2017 Presidents Cup. Stricker will captain the USA, while Price will lead the International squad.