The 2016 Olympic Games are less than a month away and lately the topic of conversation has been the host city, Rio De Janeiro, and concerns about contracting the Zika Virus. The 2016 Games will be the first time since 1904 that the sport of golf has made it in to the official program, but health concerns have some of the World’s best players missing out on their shot at Olympic Gold.
2-Time Major Champion, Jordan Spieth is only one of the many athletes not competing in the Olympic Games. Earlier this week he said, “It’s the most exciting sporting event for me to watch on TV, and to have a chance to be a part of it is something I definitely look forward to trying to do,” said Spieth. “This year I just had to try and weigh a risk that doesn’t present itself every year.” He added that he still feels that he is making the right decision for himself, his future, and everyone around him.
“The biggest concern about the Zika Virus is mosquito spread,” says Dr. Ayne Amjad from the Southern West Virginia Clinic. “So, that’s very easy to catch, as we know. A lot of athletes have declined to go to the Olympics because of that reason if they plan on starting a family.”
Because of these health concerns the top two players in the World – Jason Day and Dustin Johnson have decided to skip the Olympics. Both of these athletes have families and that is their number one concern, especially if they are considering more children.
“Because we don’t know the consequences, and we do know it stays in men up to 2 to 3 months, he has the risk of transferring that to his wife if they were to get pregnant within the next year,” says Amjad. “So, that’s probably his concern is that they probably want to have more family and he doesn’t want to take that risk.”
The rest of the Team USA golfers consist of 2-Time Masters Champion Bubba Watson, 2015 PLAYERS Champion, Rickie Fowler and now taking over the two open spots conceded by Johnson and Spieth, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar. The Olympics begin on August 5th in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, but first the 2016 Open Championship begins on Thursday, July 14th in Scotland.