Rory McIlroy, who is coming off of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, said back in May he would consult with his doctors on whether or not to play in the Rio Olympics and then decided at the beginning of June that he would. Now McIlroy has changed his mind. In May I wrote that McIlroy skipping the Olympics would likely be the end of golf in the games, and now that Jason Day is also considering skipping the Olympics the sport’s future in the games is definitely in jeopardy.
McIlroy, who was on David Feherty’s show on Golf Channel on Monday that took place after his win at the Irish Open, said, “It would be very cool,” to win an Olympic medal and that he could eventually see that being similar to a fifth major championship every four years.
Now McIlroy has changed his stance on the situation and will definitely not be competing in Rio.
In a statement released through his management company, McIlroy said:
"“After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero. After speaking with those closest to me, I’ve come to realize that my health and my family’s health comes before anything else. Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take. I trust the Irish people will understand my decision. The unwavering support I receive every time I compete in a golf tournament at home or abroad means the world to me. I will continue to endeavor to make my fans and fans of golf proud with my play on the course and my actions off it.”"
With McIlroy withdrawing his name from considering, Day wavering towards possibly not going, that would basically leave only the top Americans. Jordan Spieth had this to say about the Games…
"“I think being an Olympian is just an absolute tremendous honor,” he said. “(But) do I think being an Olympian outweighs any significant health threat? No. If I thought that the threat was significant, I certainly would not go.”"
Dustin Johnson, who I personally think will change his mind after seeing others around him withdraw, and Bubba Watson are the other top names in the sport who are currently committed to competing in Rio.
Rickie Fowler was in, but has also expressed doubts and concerns and is also wavering on whether or not to attend the games:
"“I’m definitely excited about the opportunity,” Fowler said. “But I think we want to make sure that we do our homework and make sure that we feel safe about going down there both on the security reasons and the health reasons, and make sure that everything’s taken care of. That’s our main focus right now. “I’d love to have the opportunity to go down there but we don’t know for sure yet.”"
Also, Masters champion Danny Willett has expressed concerns:
"“It’s not great, is it? There’s going to be 500,000 people watching the Olympics and you have 11,000 athletes right in the heart of where it’s at,” Willett said. “If it turns out that it would be a massive threat to myself or (my wife Nicole) or to the little man, then I probably wouldn’t go. Family comes first. But as it stands at the minute, I think everything should be OK. “We’re down to go and hopefully they can give us some proper guidelines as to how to keep it at bay and keep it under control so that it doesn’t ruin what could be potentially a fantastic Olympics.”"
Without McIlroy, Day, Fowler, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Danny Willett, and Vijay Singh, who are all some of the top and most respected golfers in the game, the Olympics seem like an afterthought. The IOC will vote on whether or not to keep golf in the games after the Rio Olympics, so at this point, without the biggest names in the sport, consider golf beyond the 2020 Olympics done.
And as I said after Adam Scott withdrew, who could blame them? I certainly do not. The games have been a disaster and they haven’t even begun.