Top golfers have decided to opt out from the most awaited event of Golf in Rio this year over health concerns, the risk of Zika virus.
Jason Day is also one of them. He is the number one golfer in the world and up until today he was wavering on whether or not to compete in the Rio Olympics.
Jason will join the a slew of other golfers that includes world number four golfer, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman, Vijay Singh, Louis Oosthuizen, Graeme McDowell, Branden Grace, and Shane Lowry, who also pulled out.
This isn’t much of a surprise considering Day just welcomed his second child into the world in November of 2015 and says he and wife Ellie plan on having more kids and he shouldn’t be bashed for his decision
What concerns golfers is that they will be walking around on a course surrounded by water that contains sewage and where mosquitoes are thriving for hours, putting them more at risk than other athletes who will be either indoors away from the elements or not surrounded by water.
So far, no Americans have withdrawn their names from consideration, but Rickie Fowler has expressed concerns over the virus as well. Jordan Spieth, who is on board for now and Dustin Johnson, who may or may not have concerns, appear committed for the moment, but only Bubba Watson has fully committed to the games.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the women and LPGA golfers, none of whom have pulled out. That’s not to say they don’t have concerns and won’t pull out of the games as they near, but it’s a far cry from what we have seen from the men’s side.
The big issue here is how this will impact the future of golf in the Olympics. With two of the biggest names in the sport skipping the first year that golf has been in the Olympics since 1904, it doesn’t set a good precedent. With the future of golf in the Olympics to be voted on before the 2020 games in Japan, it’s easy to see that without the top names willing to play in another tournament and represent their respective countries in front of the world in the eyes of the IOC, how golf could easily be pulled from the games.
Of course in four years, the IOC may regret their decision to pull the game from the Olympics and more so they may regret not moving the Olympics from Rio.