Rory McIlroy is the most high-profile golfer to withdraw from the Rio Games, where golf will make its first Olympic appearance since 1904. The world’s No. 1 golfer hasn’t ruled out joining him.
Australian Jason Day spoke with the Golf Channel on Thursday and said he’s not yet sure whether he’ll compete in Rio. McIlroy cited concerns about the Zika virus as his reason for skipping the Olympics, and Zika is the only reason Day hasn’t already committed.
“Let me tell it this way, me and Ellie are probably not done having kids,” Day said. “So I have to weigh that pretty heavily up against representing my country and trying to win a gold medal.”
Birth defects can occur in babies born to women infected by the virus, and men can transmit the disease sexually. Day and his wife, Ellie, have a 3-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter.
“I’m going to make my decision when it comes time to, but I really haven’t had the opportunity to really sit down and think about it, digest everything,” he said. “Now Rory’s pulled out, there’s been a number of guys that have kind of pulled the pin on playing, which is obviously understandable. I’ll probably look at the situation very soon and see what my decision is.”
Doctors on the PGA Tour are doing their best to keep the golfers informed on the latest information coming out of Brazil. Day said he plans to consult with independent doctors as well.
Two Australians, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, have already pulled their names from Olympic consideration, though not necessarily over Zika concerns. If Day were to pull out, that would take two top-10 golfers from Australia out of the mix; Scott is No. 8 in the world.
As of now, the four Americans who join Day and McIlroy in the top six of the world golf rankings (Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler) have not opted out of the Olympics.