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Bubba Watson will be the world’s highest ranked golfer in Rio now that the top four in the world have all withdrawn their names from the 2016 summer Olympics. Jordan Spieth pulled out today, citing the threat of Zika virus as the reason. But it’s also because Rio is a terrifying place with a sketchy government, crime, corruption and pollution, and it’s because Spieth made 22 milly in 2015 (not including endorsements), brought home a lot of hardware, and he has little to gain by venturing to this awful place.
The Zika virus is a valid excuse to skip out on Rio, but it’s also a convenient one. These guys just don’t want to play.
Two-time major winner Spieth, who is replaced by Matt Kuchar, is expected to give details about his withdrawal at a news conference before the Open Championship on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, defending Open champion Zach Johnson has questioned the inclusion of golf, football and basketball in the Olympics.
Johnson, 40, said the three sports would instead count majors, the World Cup and the NBA as their pinnacles.
“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 offence 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 do.”
A chance at a gold medal for these guys just isn’t worth the small pay day and the chance of coming home with a virus that makes your baby’s head tiny, I guess.
Image via Instagram/ @jordanspieth