Jul 11th, 2016
Spieth out of Olympics
Zika 12 - Golf 0
Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Getty
Cripes they're falling like 9-pins. Spieth's Olympic 'dream' goes west...
First it was Jason Day, then Dustin Johnson, then Rory McIlroy and now Jordan Spieth has cried off the Olympics due to the threat posed by the Zika virus in Brazil.
It's taken 112-years to get golf back into the Olympics. Reckon they'll bother with us again after this debacle?
Dudes, it's winter in Brazil when you're supposed to be playing, mosquitoes not such a problem.
The Zika virus has been linked to defects in newborn babies. Double major winner Spieth (replaced in the USA team now by Matt Kuchar), will give details about his withdrawal at a news conference before the Open tomorrow (Tuesday).
IGF president Peter Dawson said the number of withdrawals by top players "hasn't shed golf in the best light".
He added: "We do understand why these individual decisions have been made.
"Personally, I think there's been something of an overreaction to the Zika situation, but that's for individuals to determine, and there's certainly a great deal of concern about this issue inside the game of golf."
Meanwhile, defending Open champion Zach Johnson has questioned the inclusion of golf, football and basketball in the Olympics.
Johnson, 40, said the three sports would instead count majors, the World Cup and the NBA as their pinnacles.
"I don't know if golf has its place," Johnson said. "Basketball and soccer, do they really need to be in there either? My guess is they want a World Cup, an NBA Championship, before a gold medal.
"No offence to the Olympics but I'd rather be on the Ryder Cup team. As an American golfer I have that opportunity and that's what I'd rather do."
Bubba Watson is now the highest-ranked player on the Olympic list at world no5, while Masters champion Danny Willett (nine in the world) and fellow Englishman Justin Rose (11th) are the highest-ranked Britons involved. Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed will also contest the race for the golf medal.
Good luck to all who sail in them.