Rory McIlroy is out. He announced it last Wednesday. Jason Day could follow.
Jordan Spieth has expressed “concern.” So has Rickie Fowler.
Graeme McDowell, who stood next in line behind Rory for Ireland, chimed in that he’s also out. And less than 48 hours after Rory’s announcement made worldwide headlines and sparked harsh criticism in his homeland, South Africa’s Branden Grace, two wins into a banner year and ranked 11th in the world, announced that he’s not going to the Olympic Games in Rio, either.
Even Stacy Lewis, who has been as gung-ho about golf’s return to the Olympics as anyone, hedged a little at the LPGA’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “I think the Olympics would be a great honor,” Lewis said. “We have 20 opportunities to win a major championship every four years. You have one opportunity to win an Olympic medal in four years. If that doesn’t make it special, then I don’t know what it is.” But, she added, “the Zika (virus) is definitely a concern. I would like to have a family. It’s not in the immediate future but definitely down the line. … I’m still trying to figure things out.”
McIlroy and Grace also cited Zika. Rory said that he and his fiancée, Erica Stoll, intend to act like newlyweds after the nuptials, and while Rio isn’t exactly like visiting an Ebola clinic in Guinea, Brazil’s Zika epidemic, which has been linked to severe birth defects and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, poses enough of a risk for him to stay home.
Grace’s statement read, in part: “It is with regret that I have decided to withdraw myself from the Olympic competition due to the risk posed by the Zika virus. Although it was a huge goal of mine to represent my country in the Olympics, (my fiancée and I) are getting married in November and hoping to start a family in the near future so I must put the health of my family first.”
Those players join Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman and Vijay Singh in…..READ FULL ARTICLE