“The golfer Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday that he would skip the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro because of concerns about the Zika virus, becoming the highest-profile athlete yet to withdraw over the health scare,” writes Karen Crouse in today’s New York Times. “…McIlroy’s decision is a major blow for the Olympics, and not simply because he is a former world No. 1 and winner of four majors. McIlroy, 27, the highest-ranked European in the world at No. 4, was one of the few high-profile golfers who seemed committed to competing in Rio.”
“McIlroy is a standard bearer and poster boy for his sport. He takes that responsibility seriously. McIlroy’s absence from the Olympics unquestionably harms the scene, a matter rendered even more acute by the uncertainty surrounding golf’s involvement beyond 2020,” Ewan Murray of The (UK) Guardian writes.”McIlroy’s move touches on the very issue of whether or not golf should be part of the Olympic equation.”
“The focus will now turn to the other top players in the world, like Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson. If they choose to play (or are pressured into playing by sponsors and country), then golf in the Olympics will be fine,” writes Larry Bohannan of The Desert Sun.
Jason Sobel of ESPN says Rory’s move makes it easier for other players to bail.
We knew Rory McIlroy was wavering. Now he's officially out of the Olympics. With each WD, easier for other players to pull out, too.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) June 22, 2016
Kyle Porter of CBS writes that Rory just killed the future of Olympic golf.
It’s not outrageous to say Rory just killed golf in the Olympics beyond 2020. https://t.co/Z7W4rgxVke
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 22, 2016
SOURCES: NEW YORK TIMES | CBS SPORTS | ESPN | THE GUARDIAN | THE DESERT SUN