No surprise to hear this news. In fact, while I was following Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy play the front nine this afternoon, I randomly said to two other media members, “70% chance JDay pulls out of the Olympics because of the Zika virus and I don’t blame him at all.”
Following his second round at The Memorial Tournament, Day, the world no. 1, expressed his concerns about competing in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro due to fear of getting the Zika virus. It was the first time that Day had publicly discussed his apprehensiveness.
Two of Day’s countrymen Adam Scott and Marc Leishman have both already withdrawn their names from representing Australia in golf’s return to the Olympic Games. Day said he read an article about Detroit Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez getting the virus, which caused him to reevaluate his situation.
“The Detroit player — he was sick for a month and half and we just don’t need that,” Day told reporters Friday.
Day and his wife Ellie have two children Dash (4 in July) and Lucy (six months), and want to expand their family in the future. The World Health Organization has classified Zika, a mosquito-transmitted illness that can cause birth defects and other developmental problems in infants, as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”
“It’s difficult to say right now,” Day said on whether he will in fact be in Rio.
“I’m just trying to monitor what’s going on and then make an educated decision.
“Obviously we are not done having kids so I don’t want to have to bring it back and have the possibility of that happening to us.
“I think if you are putting yourself down there there is a chance of you getting it.
“So we are going to explore every avenue to make sure we make an educated decision before we go.”
From what I understand, experts know less about how long the virus stays in a male’s system (more specifically, their sperm).
Though doctors from the PGA Tour have informed Day that every precaution will be taken, he naturally wants to seek a second opinion.
“Obviously it could happen here in the States, but I think if you are putting yourself down there there is a chance of you getting it,” Day said. “We are going to explore every avenue to make sure we make an educated decision before we go down there.
“It’s just hard. It’s a medical issue. We will see. We have to see an independent doctor, not just the PGA doctor. I’m not saying it’s bias. I’m just saying we need independent advice. I think there’s a lot of guys who are on the fence about it because they don’t want to put themselves in harms way of it.”
While health experts/professionals have tried to ask the IOC to cancel or change the location of the Games, it was decided that it would not impact the spread of the virus.
“I don’t think it’s an Olympic issue, I don’t think it’s a Rio issue, I think it’s a medical issue that’s attached to the what happens if I go there, get it, and bring it back,” Day said. “Because they don’t know. The recommendation from the CDC is ‘X,’ but you don’t know how long it will last in your body for. So I am a little wary on it.”
As mentioned earlier, a number of players have already pulled out of participating in golf’s return to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years for various reasons. In addition to Scott and Leishman, South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen have both decided not to participate, along with Fiji’s Vijay Singh. However, if Day withdraws his name, it would be a massive blow as he’s not just the world no. 1, but the hottest player in golf at the moment, with seven wins in his last 17 starts.