OLYMPIC WITHDRAWAL: Jordan Spieth hits an iron at Firestone Country Club last month for the Bridgestone Invitational.
OLYMPIC WITHDRAWAL: Jordan Spieth hits an iron at Firestone Country Club last month for the Bridgestone Invitational. Tony Dejak

Spieth joins Rio Games exodus

GOLF: The decision to reintroduce golf to the Olympics has been tarnished again with world No.3 Jordan Spieth joining the list of players to have withdrawn from next month’s Rio Games.

Following the lead of world No.1 Jason Day, No.2 Dustin Johnson and No.4 Rory McIlroy, Spieth cited concerns over the Zika virus as the reason for his decision.

Spieth, who did not front the media, reportedly made his decision purely on fears over the Zika virus.

International Golf Federation president Peter Dawson is disappointed with the withdrawals of the world’s top four male players.

“I think I should say now that I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to discuss individual cases, especially as they’re generally decisions that have been taken on health grounds,” he told a press conference yesterday.

“Speaking collectively though, there is no doubt that the number of withdrawals hasn’t shed golf in the best light.

“Personally, I think there’s been something of an overreaction to the Zika situation, but that’s for individuals to determine.”

The latest setback came as two-time major winner Zach Johnson questioned golf being on the Games program.

“I don’t know if golf has its place,” the world No.18 said.

“Basketball and soccer, do they really need to be in there either? My guess is they (basketball and soccer players) want a World Cup, (or) an NBA championship before a gold medal.

“No offence to the Olympics, but I’d rather be on the Ryder Cup team.”

Scott Hend (world No.81) and Marcus Fraser (No.86) have qualified for Australia following the withdrawal of Day, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman.


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