Jordan Spieth TROON, SCOTLAND – JULY 11: Jordan Spieth of the United States tees off on the 7th hole during a practice round ahead of the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon on July 11, 2016 in Troon, Scotland. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Golf’s return to the Olympic games after a 112-year absence already wasn’t off to a great start, but on Monday it was announced that Jordan Spieth is the latest big name to drop out of the Rio Olympics.

International Golf Federation president Peter Dawson announced the move as the game heads to its most iconic tournament — The Open.

The loss of Spieth means that all four of the world’s top four ranked golfers will miss the event. Previously, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy announced their decisions not to participate in the tournament.

It means the United States team needs a new player, and replacing Spieth will be Matt Kuchar. The United States team will consist of Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, and Kuchar.

All four of the Team USA golfers come in to the tournament inside the Top 10 rankings of players that will make up the field in golf’s return to the Olympic games.

Spieth did not speak directly to the press about his decision to not participate in the tournament, but is expected to address it during a press conference at Royal Toon on Tuesday ahead of the British Open.

However, reports indicate that concerns over the Zika virus are once again at fault for a huge departure from the Olympic games. It was the reason given by world No. 1 Jason Day and the three other top 4 players in the world.

Another player who isn’t heading to the Rio Olympics is reigning British Open champion Zach Johnson, but he also isn’t exactly a big fan of the inclusion of golf in the Olympic games.

“I don’t know if golf has its place,” Johnson said. “Basketball and soccer, do they really need to be in there either? My guess is they want a World Cup, an NBA Championship, before a gold medal.

“No offense to the Olympics but I’d rather be on the Ryder Cup team. As an American golfer I have that opportunity and that’s what I’d rather.”

That could be part of the bigger problem with the Olympics restarting golf as a full medal sport. Add in the concerns over the Zika virus and you have a perfect scapegoat for players getting out of the games without looking bad in the public eye.

Maybe in time the game of golf fully embraces the Olympics, but with a 112-year history of not being around the game it is likely to take more than one tournament experience to make it worth while.


About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!