It’s not the competition, the course, nor the interruption in his normal schedule that has Jason Day reconsidering competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics, it’s the Zika virus.
Day told reporters at The Memorial that he has been reconsidering his attendance in the event after reading a news report about Detroit Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez being sick for two weeks and having symptoms for another two months after getting the disease in his native Venezuela in Major League Baseball’s season, which lasts from November to March.
“I don’t think it’s an Olympic issue, I don’t think it’s a Rio issue, I think it’s a medical issue that’s attached to the what happens if I go there, get it, and bring it back,” Day told ESPN. “Because they don’t know. The recommendation from the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] is X, but you don’t know how long it will last in your body for. So I am a little wary on it.”
On top of that, Day has a six-month-old son at home. He’s not the first player to talk about not playing, earlier this season No. 3 Rory McIlroy expressed similar fears, although he has somewhat recanted those statements.
To date, five prominent players who would likely be eligible for the competition have said they will not go to Rio – Adam Scott and Marc Leishman of Australia; South Africa’s Louis Ooshuizen and Charl Schwartzel; and Fiji’s Vijay SIngh.
The tournament will feature the top 60 players based on the current world rankings. The top 15 players are automatically eligible, but only the top four players from each country can participate. Outside of the top 15, only two players per country can compete.
That system would have players like the US’ Patrick Reed, currently ranked No. 12 in the world, on the outside looking in, since fourth other Americans – Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, and Dustin Johnson, are all ranked ahead of him in the Top 15.
The 72-hole stroke-play tournament is scheduled to begin on Aug. 11