Jordan Speith withdraws from Rio Olympics
Double Major winning Jordan Speith in another huge blow to the sport has announced he will not be competing in next month’s Olympic Games Men’s Golf competition in Rio de Janeiro.
The American has cited fears of the Zika virus in withdrawing from competition starting on August 10th.
Jordan Spieth (Credit: Getty Images)
“Listen, this was probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life, at 22 years old,” Spieth said.
“I can probably honestly say that. “This was harder than trying to decide what university to go to. (And) whether to turn professional and leave school.”
“This was something I very much struggled with. I bounced back and forth with, and ultimately a decision had to be made yesterday, and so I made it.”
“Why was it so hard?” Spieth said of the decision. “Because I’m a huge believer in Olympic golf. I’m a huge believer in playing for your country, showing I absolutely look forward to summer and winter Olympics.”
“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.”
“This year I just had to try and weigh a risk that doesn’t present itself every year, and just at the time that I had to make the decision, I just felt this was the right move for me.”
News of the Texas-born golfer decision was relayed by officials of the International Golf Federation at a press conference at Royal Troon – the venue for this week’s Open Championship.
Speith’s place in the four-man USA Team will be taken by Matt Kuchar.
Speith’s decision comes just three days after reigning US Open winner Dustin Johnson announced his fears also over the Zika virus as his reason for not wishing to compete.
And it means the competition will be missing the four top-ranked golfers in the world after the earlier withdrawal of World No. 1 Jason Day, Johnson at No. 2., Spieth at No. 3 and World No. 4 Rory McIlroy.
Spieth’s withdrawal now also brings to 17 the number of leading male golfers electing not to travel to Brazil.
Sixty male golfers will be competing for medals at the Olympics following a 112-year absence.