South African golfer Lee-Anne Pace has withdrawn from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, citing concerns over the Zika virus. She is the first female golfer to remove herself from consideration following a slew of male withdrawals over the last few weeks.
“After weighing up all the options and discussing it with my family and team, I have decided that due to the health concerns surrounding the Zika virus, I will not be participating,” Pace tweeted on Wednesday. Pace, who currently plays on the Ladies European Tour, joins countrymen Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, and Branden Grace in sitting out the festivities.
Up until this point, only male golfers had publicly voiced concerns about traveling to Rio de Janeiro for the Games. While no other LPGA Tour players have come forward yet, the potential for the floodgates to burst open remains after Pace’s decision.
Pace, 35, has 10 professional wins and has twice won the LET Player of the Year award. She was ranked 20th in Olympic qualifying prior to her withdrawal.