WASHINGTON, June 29, 2016 (AFP) – World number two Jordan Spieth remains uncertain if he will compete in the Rio Olympics when golf returns to the Games lineup for the first time in 112 years.
Spieth and many of the world’s top golfers will compete this week at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
But with world number one Jason Day of Australia joining the list of top names backing out of golf’s Olympic return over his concerns about the Zika virus, the hot topic ahead of Thursday’s opening round was Rio.
“Right now, I’m uncertain,’’ Spieth said. “I have not received enough information to make an informed decision either way or not, so as we gather more information I will be able to make a decision one way or the other.
“When I feel confident, I will make a decision either side.’’
The world rankings of July 11 will determine rosters so players have until then to decide about playing or not.
Spieth’s US compatriot, third-ranked US Open winner Dustin Johnson, says he intends to play while fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy said he will not go to Brazil due to Zika, which has been linked to birth defects and severe illness.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry, the defending Bridgestone champion, and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell have said no. So have Aussies Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, South Africans Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel and Fiji’s Vijay Singh.
Sweden’s fifth-ranked Henrik Stenson and sixth-ranked American Bubba Watson, a two-time Masters champion, have said they will play. Also uncommitted is seventh-ranked US star Rickie Fowler.
“I’ve had to adopt my two kids. We can’t have kids. So that aspect is completely wiped away,’’ Watson said.