(REUTERS) - Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia has committed to representing his country at the Rio Olympics, despite a host of his fellow professionals withdrawing from the Games citing fears concerning the Zika virus.
"I know there r some dangers but representing Spain, trying to make golf grow & becoming an Olympian r too important so I'll be at @Olympics," the world No. 12 tweeted on his verified account (@TheSergioGarcia).
Brendon de Jonge, however, has become the latest to opt out of Rio. But unlike others, the Zimbabwean has withdrawn to focus on keeping his PGA Tour card.
Big names including world No. 1 Jason Day, fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy, Fiji's Vijay Singh and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa have all pulled out owing to the virus, as golf marks a return to the Olympics, for the first time since 1904.
The mosquito-borne disease, that the World Health Organisation says is spreading rapidly in the Americas, can cause crippling birth defects in infants and has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre in adults.
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."
Twice Major winner Jordan Spieth, the world No. 3, is still undecided about whether to participate.
"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."
The Olympics will be held from Aug 5-21.