Rio Olympics 2016: Jason Day and Shane Lowry pull out over Zika fears

Jason Day
Day is the fifth golfer to withdraw from the Games in Rio over Zika concerns

World number one Jason Day and Irish golfer Shane Lowry have withdrawn from the Olympics because of concerns over the Zika virus.

Australian 28-year-old Day said while the risk is small, it is not one he is willing to take because of "potential risks to my wife's future pregnancies".

Lowry said it is "with a heavy heart" that he has decided not to represent Ireland at Rio in August.

Rory McIlroy has also pulled out due to concerns over the mosquito-borne virus.

The virus has been linked to brain defects in newborn babies.

In a statement published on his Twitter page, Day added: "Competing at the Olympics has always been a major goal, but golf cannot take precedence over my family."

World number four McIlroy's decision was already a blow to a sport which will be making a return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.

Day is the sixth high-profile player to pull out because of concerns over Zika, following fellow Australian Marc Leishman, Fiji's Vijay Singh, South Africa's Branden Grace and Northern Ireland pair McIlory and Graeme McDowell.

A number of other top players, including major winners Adam Scott of Australia and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, have already pulled out for scheduling and family reasons.

Earlier this month, American cyclist American cyclist Tejay van Garderen also withdrew from Rio, because his wife is pregnant.

The Olympics get under way on 5 August, and speaking on Monday, Rio 2016 chief executive Sidney Levy said fears over the virus had been "overblown".