Olympic golf could potentially miss out on having any of the Big Three in the field.
Jason Day and Rory McIlroy have already withdrawn their names from consideration to play in Rio this August, and Jordan Spieth will not commit fully to playing as he is still trying to gather information on the risks facing athletes in Brazil.
Spieth spoke with reporters earlier in the week about his status for the Olympics and he noted that he’s still unsure, even with the Team USA selection announcement coming soon.
“Right now I’m uncertain,” said Spieth. “Always been excited about the possible opportunity, but there’s quite a few different factors that would turn somebody away from going. It’s not just one, there’s quite a few factors.I personally have not received enough information that would allow me to make a confident decision either way at this point, so it’ll be as we gather further information I’ll be able to lean one way or the other, and when I feel confident on either side, I’ll make the choice.”
Spieth was asked to elaborate further on the factors outside of the concerns over the Zika virus that will go into making his decision.
“Well, there’s other bacteria stuff, whatever it’s called, that just came out, too,” said Spieth. “And then just the security threats that Brazil and Rio have. I’ve heard some stories on both sides, and I’m going to get answers soon on how we plan to be secured down there. Transportation is a big security issue down there, how to get from one place to another with the different kind of violence that we don’t see here.
“And if I feel like there’s any significant threat, then is it worth it? Probably not. I don’t train my whole life — not train my whole life to play in the Olympics like some of those athletes, but now that it has presented itself, it is something very significant I’d love to be a part of. Do I think I’ll be there in four years’ time? I’m confident that yes, but also it would be cool to be part of the first one. I just don’t have a lot of information yet, and I will by next week, I think, have a significant amount more.”
Spieth is not the only player to note that making the Olympics isn’t the ultimate goal golfers have growing up. McIlroy made a similar comment this week at the WGC-Bridgestone when asked about his decision to skip the Olympics.
“I don’t think it’s embarrassing for the game because most other athletes dream their whole lives of competing in the Olympics, winning an Olympic gold, and we haven’t,” said McIlroy. “We dream of winning Claret Jugs and we dream of winning Green Jackets. Whether that makes golf look insular in any way … it’s just the way it is.”
Debuting golf at the Olympics in Rio has become the perfect storm to create a disastrous first event. The health and security concerns are very real, and as McIlroy and Spieth note, unlike sports that revolve around the Olympics like swimming or track and field, many of the elite golfers are not going to see the Olympics as a reward that out weights potential risks.
Jordan Spieth is still contemplating his Olympics future.