Golfer Spieth joins Rio exodus over Zika virus fears

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie during a practice round at the British Open Golf Championship at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon Scotland Monday

Golfer Spieth joins Rio exodus over Zika virus fears

Spieth was on the golf course at Royal Troon in Scotland on Monday prepping for this week's British Open.

International Golf Federation president Peter Dawson announced Monday that Jordan Spieth has withdrawn from the Olympics.

Matt Kuchar will replace Spieth on the US team alongside Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed.

Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy previously withdrew, all citing the Zika virus. So when Spieth, who chose to wait until Tuesday at the British Open to discuss why he bowed out, talks about it, I'd advise him to focus on the security.

In total, 17 leading male golfers have elected not to travel to Brazil in August, with 60 taking part at the Games - for which the qualification deadline passed on Monday.

"I think that once we understand how those play out in front of a worldwide audience for television, a digital audience, an enthusiastic on-site audience, I think those are the things that we're going to be focused on".

The 14-time major victor said the qualifying format - four players per country from the world's top 15, plus two players per country outside that - also devalued the competition.

"What I'm hoping is that when we come to play in Tokyo in 2020. that the top players do support Olympic golf", he said.

However, reports indicate that concerns over the Zika virus are once again at fault for a huge departure from the Olympic games.

Open champion Zach Johnson has questioned golf's place in the Olympics on the day Jordan Spieth withdrew from the Rio Games. And I think it's genuine. It was also pointed out that the Games will take place during the winter months of August and September, when the drier, cooler climate greatly reduces the presence of mosquitoes and therefore the risk of infection.

Woods, arguably still golf's greatest drawcard despite the long-term back problems that have meant he can not take part in Rio, said the Olympics "deserved" to have the best players taking part.

"In the Rio Games there are 306 events and the International Olympic Committee will be reviewing each of those 306 events individually and then making a decision as to what events remain in the program for Tokyo (the 2020 Games) and beyond", said Scanlon.

As I've said before, it's the biggest grow-the-game opportunity available, and we need grow-the-game opportunities.

Yet another one of the world's top golfers is pulling out of the Summer Olympics.

"I mean, no offence to the Olympics but I'd rather be on the Ryder Cup team personally".

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