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Top Male Golfers Avoid Olympics Over Zika Concerns


The top male golfers from Australia, South Africa, and Ireland have decided to not compete in the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil next month.

Jason Day, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman are the top three male golfers from Australia. ) have decided not to go to the Olympics. And the top three golfers from South Africa (Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel), will be joining them as spectators.

jason day olympic statement

Shane Lowry is also out along with Rory McIlroy. Both cited Zika concerns. This means the top three Irish golfers are also out. Graeme McDowell said he wanted to be with his wife, Kristin, during her pregnancy.

Golf is in the Olympics this year for the first time since 1904. But the large number of top players pulling out may put golf's Olympic future in doubt.

Barry Maister, an International Olympic Committee member from New Zealand, blasted the golfers who have dropped out. “I think it is appalling,” he told Newstalk ZB, a radio station in New Zealand. “I don’t like it, and I don’t think the sport should be allowed to continue in the Games under that scenario.”

Maister added, “Just getting in with your name and then putting up some second- or third-rate players is so far from the Olympic ideal or the expectation of the Olympic movement.”



Golf has been the hardest-hit sport. Some athletes and coaches plan to preserve sperm for possible future pregnancies before traveling to Rio.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus linked to severe birth defects. Hundreds of thousands are infected in Brazil, and the virus has been tied to thousands of cases of microcephaly, which causes unusually small heads and brain damage in newborns. The virus can be sexually transmitted.


None of the world’s top female golfers have yet backed out of the Olympics, even though they may face a greater health risk.



golf, olympics, Zika


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