No.1 Day confirms Aussie Open after Olympic pullout

Australia's Jason Day says he will not play in the Rio Olympics due to fears over the Zika virus (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Sydney (AFP) - World number one Jason Day Wednesday said he will head home to play the Australian Open this year, a day after becoming the latest golfer to withdraw from the Olympics.

The Australian has not teed off at his national Open since 2013 due to injuries and family issues and will line up alongside world number two Jordan Spieth.

"The Australian Open holds a special spot in my heart and I’d love to get my name on that trophy one day -– hopefully this November,” Day said in a statement.

"Injuries and family commitments have made it impossible for me a couple of times lately, but it’s a tournament I’ve always cherished, just as I know some of the sport’s greats have through the years."

When Day last played the tournament in Sydney, he finished tied sixth behind winner Rory McIlroy. Spieth won it the following year with Australian Matt Jones the 2015 champion.

"I’m sure the crowds will be huge again in November -– I can’t wait to come home and give it my best shot,” Day added.

The commitment to his home Open followed his decision on Tuesday to skip the Rio Olympics due to fears over the Zika virus.

The threat of the mosquito-borne virus, which can lead to birth defects, has been cited as the reason for withdrawal by a number of golfers including major winners McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Graeme McDowell and Charl Schwartzel, as the sport returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

"I have always placed my family in front of everything else in my life," said Day, who has a four-year-old son Dash, and seven-month-old daughter Lucy.

The Australian Olympic Committee on Wednesday said it respected his decision.

"He is a family man and he has put his family first," the AOC said.

The Australian Open gets under way at Royal Sydney Golf Club from November 17.