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Zika fears force Japanese golfer Matsuyama to skip Olympics

AFP , Monday 4 Jul 2016
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Hideki Matsuyama has added his name to the growing list of golfers pulling out of the Summer Olympics in Brazil because of fears over the Zika virus.

The 24-year-old Japanese star is the sixth player ranked in the top 20 to withdraw. His decision comes five days after world number one Jason Day pulled out and almost two weeks after Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy said he wouldn't be going to the Rio Games which begin August 5.

"I cannot be 100 percent sure about my safety, and my team's safety, from the Zika virus," Matsuyama said in a statement.

Matsuyama, who posted his second career USPGA Tour win earlier this year, shot a final round 67 to finish tied for 42nd at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.

"Although I am excited that golf is returning to the Olympics and I realize that my potential success would help grow the game in Japan, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot put myself or my team member's health at risk.

"I have been getting information from all the concerned parties as well as my doctors about the situation in Rio."

Matsuyama added he often has strong reactions to insect bites.

The men's Olympic golf tournament runs from August 11-14.

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