Rio Watch: Who’s In for the Olympic Golf Event, Who’s Out, and Who’s Showing Serious Doubt
First Adam Scott. Then Charl and Louis. Now Rory and G-Mac. If you’ve lost track of which golfers have withdrawn themselves from consideration for the XXXI Olympiad in Brazil next month, well, we don’t blame you. One scratch seems to lead another, and the way some top players have been chirping (including your world No. 1), you shouldn’t be surprised to see more of them say “thanks, but no thanks” in the coming days and weeks. The RSVP list is hard to keep up with, but fear not, Olympic golf fanatics, we’ve compiled a handy-dandy reference guide for who’s in, who’s out, and who’s still sitting on the fence with less than 50 days until the event begins. We’ll update this list as more players commit or back out, so be sure and check back often.
ALL IN: BRING ON THE GAMES!
Bubba Watson (USA)
"I can't wait. My wife played professional basketball and she missed out on the Olympics because of a knee injury the one time she had a chance to make the team. … So for me, it's an amazing sporting event that I get to be inside the ropes at. I get to see some of the athletes I've always wanted to see. I get to go to some of the events I've always wanted to watch and then I get to play in it."
Rickie Fowler (USA)
After wavering on his decision, Fowler announced his intentions on Twitter.
Matt Kuchar (USA)
"The Olympics is something that I think every kid dreams about doing at one stage. Awfully exciting now that golf is actually part of the Olympics again, that my sport has a chance."
Henrik Stenson (Sweden)
“I’m really looking forward to the Olympics. I think it’s going to be a great experience. And if I could myself and my family and my country by winning a medal, that be awesome.” The Swede also added, "I'm not afraid of mosquitos. I'm more afraid of bears."
Danny Willett (Great Britain)
Willett said he is willing to "risk" competing in Rio. "For the sake of one week out of every four years, I feel it's a risk I'm potentially willing to take," he said.
Justin Rose (Great Britain)
“I’m all over it. I’m really excited about it. I’m going to go down there and treat it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m going to take in the Opening Ceremonies and try to feel like I’m part of a bigger team -- Team GB.”
Sergio Garcia (Spain)
“I’m really looking forward to the Opening Ceremonies, walking with the flag and the whole team from Spain. I think it will be amazing. ... To see so many different sports in the same spot is just amazing. I hope to watch some track and field, some tennis. And there’s the whole atmosphere at the Olympics, meeting great athletes in other sports in the Olympic Village. I can’t wait.”
I know there r some dangers but representing Spain, trying to make golf grow & becoming an Olympian r too important so I'll be at @Olympics— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) July 6, 2016
Byeong-hun An (South Korea)
"Hopefully, I'll get one of the medals. It would be nice if it's gold. It's one better than [An’s parents, both of whom won medals in table tennis in the 1988 Games; his mother won a silver and a bronze, his father took bronze]."
Danny Lee (New Zealand)
"It will mean so much for me. Hopefully, I will find a good partner and hopefully we do our best and win the gold medal there. It will be so much fun going there and playing as a New Zealand golfer."
Martin Kaymer (Germany)
“I think [the Olympics] are even a little bit more of a priority than the majors. … With the majors you have four chances every year, whereas in the Olympics you only have one chance every four years. … I will take the Olympics as seriously as the majors, but I think there will be more emotion in the Olympics.” (In May, after several players had withdraw themselves from consideration, Kaymer told Golf.com: "It makes me wonder how serious is it really, and why is everyone pulling out? But I would think it wouldn't change my opinion of going there.")
Graham DeLaet (Canada)
"It would be special. This is the first time in over a hundred years that golf is back in the Olympics and I want to be there."
WITHDRAWN -- HIT ME UP FOR TOKYO 2020!
Jordan Spieth (USA)
Reason: Zika. The International Golf Federation announced Monday that Spieth will not play in Rio. Spieth is expected to discuss his decision at a press conference at the British Open on Tuesday.
Dustin Johnson (USA)
Reason: Zika. "Paulina [Gretzky, his fiance] and I plan to have more children in the near future, and I feel it would be irresponsible to put myself, her or our family at risk. I believe I am making the right decision for me and most importantly, my family."
Hideki Matsuyama (Japan)
Reason: Zika. “I have come to the conclusion that I cannot put myself or my team member's health at risk.”
Jason Day (Australia)
Reason: Zika. "The reason for my decision is my concerns about the possible transmission of the zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife's future pregnancies and to future members of our family. I have always placed my family in front of everything else in my life...I will not place them at risk."
Shane Lowry (Ireland)
Reason: Zika. "Wendy and I have just recently been married and we hope to be lucky enough to have a family in the near future," Lowry said in a statement. "Based on these cirumcstances, I have received firm medical advice that I should not travel to Rio this summer."
Rory McIlroy (Ireland)
Reason: Zika. “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.”
Graeme McDowell (Ireland)
Reason: His wife is due to give birth in September. "I made the decision many months ago, before I was on the team, that I would not travel.”
Adam Scott (Australia)
Reason: Scheduling and family commitments. "My decision has been taken as a result of an extremely busy playing schedule around the time of the Olympics, and other commitments, both personal and professional."
Marc Leishman (Australia)
Reason: Concerns about the health of his wife, Audrey, who nearly died in 2015 from toxic shock syndrome. Leishman’s doctors, advised him against traveling to Brazil. Said Leishman: “We have consulted with Audrey's physician and due to her ongoing recovery and potential risks associated with the transmission of the Zika virus it was a difficult yet easy decision not to participate."
Branden Grace (South Africa)
Reason: Zika. He is getting married in November and intends to start a family soon.
Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa)
Reason: Scheduling and family commitments. "I have always represented South Africa with pride, so I didn't make my decision without a great deal of thought.”
Charl Schwartzel (South Africa)
Reason: None cited.
Vijay Singh (Fiji)
Reason: Scheduling and Zika. “The timing of it, you know I have to focus over here [on Tour]. I would like to play the Olympics, but the Zika virus, you know and all that crap. … It wasn’t that difficult [a decision]. I feel bad, I wanted to play and finally decided against it. It’s in the middle of the Tour over here and I’m trying to figure out my game.”
Brendon de Jonge (Zimbabwe)
Reason: Tour status. "It is truly a business decision. It would have been a great honor to play for my country. I am truly disappointed, but my current position on the FedEx Cup points list does not allow me the luxury to skip the John Deere Classic or the Travelers Championship. ... This has to be a priority for me and my family."