After a 112 years long absent, golf is finally making its return back to the Olympics in just a little under two weeks. Fans around the world are eagerly excited. However, that the same cannot be said for the top ranked golfers. “Zika” is their excuse to stay away.
One after another, top players have been skipping out on competing in golf’s big return to the Olympics. Big names such as Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and many more have declared that they will not be taking their talent to Rio. Our of the world’s top ten, SIX! have already confirmed their desire to not be in the Olympics.
All four names we mentioned above have claimed that “fear over the Zika Virus” is the reason why they have decided to back out as they are planning to start their own families. While the mosquito-borne Zika virus is a serious disease that links to brain defects in newborn babies and should be given the utmost highest of attention, it also serves as the perfect excuse for them to not go to the Olympics. You don’t see athletes from other sports, especially those who are considered to be the best in the world in their fields, bail out like these fine gentlemen.
Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen, who also pulled out from Rio, were at least being honest about it. They just straight up said they were not interested and it’s not something that they consider to be important. McIlroy was sort of admitting that he didn’t want to play when he said he’d be watching the Olympics on TV, but only the events that matter like track and field or swimming but not golf.
We could think of a couple real reasons why golfers don’t actually want to compete in the Olympics. There’s no prize money and it messes with their schedule. The “I’m putting mine and my family’s health first” excuse sounds better than the “I don’t want to play since there’s no money and prestige involved or it’s not important” excuse. For argument’s sake, let’s say that they are genuinely concern about the Zika virus (we highly doubt it though). Therefore, we expect to see some babies in the coming years!
Before all of this started, many have voiced their opinion about keeping golf at the Olympics for amateurs only, something which we agree with. However, with the decreasing number of golfers each year in the western world, this is probably seen as a way to help increase the popularity of the sport. So who are best to do such a thing? Of course it’s none other than the best players in the world like Day, Johnson, Spieth and McIlroy.
The best part about it is that we’ve heard all of them talking about the problem of the decreasing number of golfers and how to grow the game of golf. So with the long awaited come back of golf to the Olympics, you’d think that they would see it as an opportunity to do just that. Alas, we don’t live in a perfect world and golfers just don’t care about the Olympics.
With its stars missing, golf is once again fighting for its spot as an Olympic event. While any of the reason above would have at least been acceptable, using a disease that is an actual concern to people around the world is just low. As the women are going in to the Olympics almost full in star-power (only one person, Lee-Anne Pace, pulled out so far), the men should be a shame of themselves, especially since it has taken over a century for golf to make its way back to the Olympics.
Nonetheless, we are still looking forward the Olympics and hope we will see something extraordinary like what we recently witnessed in the thrilling final round of the Open Championship at Royal Troon. The way the game was played, it just proved that you don’t need any or all of the world’s top four to see astonishing golf.