With just over a month remaining until the 2016 Rio Olympic Games kick off in Brazil, the United States Olympic Committee met with USA Golf and four top American players at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Wednesday to ease some worried minds.
Concerns about the zika virus, security and scheduling have caused more than 10 male players from around the world, although none yet from the United States, to withdraw, the meeting was planned well in advance of the latest wave of WDs and was not an “emergency” reaction, the USOC said.
While Bubba Watson said that he is “100 percent in” for the Olympics, Jordan Spieth expressed concerns Tuesday over various elements tied to his potential participation. Both attended the meeting at Firestone Country Club, along with Rickie Fowler and reigning U.S. Open champ Dustin Johnson.
“I thought the meeting was good. It cleared up a lot of things,” Johnson said. “Still waiting to hear back on a couple things that all four of us had a concern about, but we’ll have some answers early next week.”
While world No. 1 Jason Day and Shane Lowry both cited the Zika virus as their main reason for withdrawing from the competition, Johnson indicated that the issues raised by the American players focused on other areas.
“Just security concerns,” Johnson said. “I think they’ve got it covered pretty well. We talked very, very briefly about Zika, but it was mostly all security concerns.”
A source who attended the meeting described it as “great” and added that USA Golf officials are expected to touch base with the players early next week with updated information.
“A lot of information was shared, and a lot of questions were asked,” the source said. “We just have some things to work through in terms of getting some more definitive answers to their questions.”
While Spieth’s Olympic participation remains uncertain, Johnson indicated after the meeting that he plans to be a part of golf’s Olympic return.
“I mean, at this point I’m going to go to the Olympics and represent my country,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”