Golf is making a comeback into the Olympic Games after over a century and yet, the worlds top golfers opting out of the tournament is starting to have a domino effect. Representing their country in the Olympics is what most athletes from every discipline aspire for their entire lives, why then are witnessing the likes of world # 1 Jason Day, world # 4 Rory McIlroy and a host of other top names choosing to sit this one out in the days leading up to the games? It has raised eyebrows with a lot of sports critics from around the world and has disgruntled the International Olympic Committee to say the least. Most of these golfers have cited the rampantly spreading Zika virus as the reason for their decision, however, one must understand the life of a touring professional golfer to be able to fully empathize with their decision.
In my opinion, though a threat from the Zika virus is very real and could be a large factor in their decision making, it is just an avatar of a combination of reasons for them not being interested in taking part in the games.
The worlds best golfers have their schedules chalked out for the entire year well in advance. Their focus is on the four majors and the big money events. Two of these majors, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship are in July, the Olympic games are scheduled for mid august and the Fedex Cup, Ryder Cup etc follow not long after. As a competitive athlete, rest is a very important factor in preparing for an important event and so, with their priorities very clear, it is not hard to see which tournament gets struck off the list first.
Whichever side of the argument you are on, as a golf fan eager to watch the best golfers go head to head vying to add a medal to their country’s tally, it will definitely be disappointing to not be able to watch the best in the business be a part of it.
– JJ Chakola