With the rising concern over the Zika Virus as the Olympics in Rio approach, American golfer Dustin Johnson is the latest to take his name out of consideration for the Olympics.
“As an athlete, I can think of no greater honor than representing the United States in the Olympic Games,” Johnson said in a statement. “However, after much careful consideration and discussion with both my family and my team, I have made the decision to withdraw from the 2016 Olympic Games. This was not an easy decision for me, but my concerns about the Zika Virus cannot be ignored. Paulina 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.”
Johnson joins a growing list of athletes making the decision not to compete for an Olympic gold this summer, including fellow golfers Jason Day and Rory McIlroy. Each has stated they have concerns over Zika that have caused them to make the decision to stay home rather than represent their country and expose themselves to a possible infection. On the other hand, Bubba Watson is still planning on heading to Rio. Other athletes are also planning on heading to the games, although are taking some extreme measures just in case.
With Johnson making his decision to stay home for the games, that means one spot on the American roster will have to be filled. Golf Channel reports that is likely to be Patrick Reed. Jordan Spieth, Watson and Rickie Fowler are all scheduled to attend the games, with the one vacant spot to fill. In the event any of those three golfers should decide to stay home, it is expected Matt Kuchar would get the next invite.
The closer we get to the Olympics, it seems just as likely we will remember the games in part for the athletes who decided to stay home as much as those pursuing a medal.