Leishman to skip Olympics over Zika concerns


Marc Leishman announced Wednesday that he will not participate in golf's return to the Olympics, becoming the second Australian to opt out of a trip to Rio this summer.

Leishman, 32, lost in a playoff last year at the Open Championship and is currently ranked No. 35 in the world. He moved into position for an Olympic berth only when his countryman, Adam Scott, announced last month that he would skip the Olympics.

Leishman's wife, Audrey, became gravely ill last spring with toxic shock syndrome, an illness that caused Leishman to miss the 2015 Masters. With the Zika virus still an issue in Brazil, Leishman offered a statement to the PGA of Australia indicating that he would not be traveling to Rio over health concerns tied to the virus.

"Last April my children and I almost lost my wife Audrey to toxic shock syndrome. Since then, Audrey has been prone to infection and is far removed from 100 percent recovery of her immune system," Leishman said. "We have consulted with Audrey's physician and due to her ongoing recovery and potential risks associated with the transmission of the Zika virus, it was a difficult yet easy decision not to participate."

Leishman's decision means that world No. 63 Marcus Fraser is next in line to join top-ranked Jason Day in representing Australia at the Olympics. Others now in the mix for the second roster spot would include Matt Jones (No. 71), Scott Hend (No. 76) and Steven Bowditch (No. 96).

The top-ranked Australian behind Day when the world rankings are published on July 11 will earn a spot among the 60-man field in Rio.