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De Jonge puts PGA Tour card before Olympics

Sep 5, 2015; Norton, MA, USA; Brendon de Jonge hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the second round at the Deutsche Bank TPC of Boston. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports/Files
Sep 5, 2015; Norton, MA, USA; Brendon de Jonge hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the second round at the Deutsche Bank TPC of Boston. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports/Files

(Reuters) - Brendon de Jonge has become the latest golfer to opt out of the Rio Olympics but unlike other players who have cited fears over the Zika virus, the Zimbabwean has withdrawn to focus on keeping his PGA Tour card.

De Jonge, who currently sits 160th in FedEx Cup points and has work to do to maintain his Tour card, has decided to play two events on the PGA Tour during the Olympics in August.

“I am truly disappointed, but my current position on the FedEx Cup points list does not allow me the luxury to skip the John Deere Classic or the Travelers Championship,” the 35-year-old said in a statement. “I must finish in the top 125 to gain entry into our FedEx Cup Playoffs. This has to be a priority for me and my family.”

Jason Day of Australia and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland are among the high-profile golfers who have cited concers about the Zika virus in deciding not to compete in Rio when the sport makes its return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

Twice major winner Jordan Spieth is still undecided about whether to participate amid ongoing concerns about Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that the World Health Organization says is spreading rapidly in the Americas.

“The reason for my decision is not my concern about the Zika virus,” de Jonge said. “It is truly a business decision. It would have been a great honour to play for my country.”

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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