A compelling Olympic golf tournament is looking increasingly imperiled by Zika virus fears.
World No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who has been enthusiastic about representing Ireland at Rio de Janeiro, acknowledged there’s a chance he might not go, as has Masters champion Danny Willett, who is in line to represent England.
“As it gets closer, I am relishing the thought of going down there and competing for gold,” McIlroy said just hours after winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open last Sunday. “But I have been reading a lot of reports about Zika and there have been some articles coming out saying that it might be worse than they’re saying and I have to monitor that situation.”
LATEST REPORT: Uncertainty Over Zika’s Olympic Impact
Speaking Tuesday ahead of the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Willett said that if the mosquito-borne virus were to be a “massive threat” to himself, his wife or their infant son, “then I probably wouldn’t go. But as it stands at the minute, I think everything should be OK.”
Australians Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, along with South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel and Fiji’s Vijay Singh, already have said they’ll decline to participate in the Olympics. Leishman, Scott and Singh acknowledged publicly that the Zika threat played into their thinking.