Peter Dawson: Zika virus 'overreaction'

2016 07 Getty Images 522412448
• Peter Dawson bemoans Zika virus 'overreaction'
• World No.3 Jordan Spieth will NOT go to Brazil
• "It's certainly disappointing," said the IGF president


International Golf Federation (IGF) president Peter Dawson displayed his ‘disappointment’ and said there had been a Zika virus ‘overreaction’ as Jordan Spieth became the latest high-profile Olympic withdrawal.

Spieth joined fellow top four players Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy in pulling out of the Games, placing serious jeopardy on golf’s long-term Olympic future after Tokyo 2020.

Peter Dawson, the former chief executive of the R&A, refused to be drawn on individual cases such as Spieth’s – who is due to explain his reasons in his press conference at 12pm tomorrow – but said the sheer amount of male golfer withdrawals reflected poorly on the game.


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“It’s certainly disappointing that we’ve had so many withdrawals on the men’s side – but wonderful that all of the women have been very supportive,” said Dawson. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss individual cases, especially as they’ve generally been taken on health grounds, but speaking collectively there’s no doubt the number of withdrawals hasn’t shed golf in the best light.

“We have to accept that but we do understand why these individuals’ decisions have been taken. Personally, I think there’s been an overreaction to the Zika situation but that’s for individuals to determine.”

Spieth said before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational that he hadn’t received enough information about the health and security concerns of going to Rio de Janeiro – but IGF vice-president Ty Votaw was in no doubt that players have been kept well informed.


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“Over the past 12-18 months, there’s been no small amount of conversations and information shared with players across the board, across all of the issues that they raised with us,” added Votaw. “There was a meeting at Akron last week with the four US players that were at that point eligible to compete, and those conversations have gone on across the board, across every other country that has been represented on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.”

Speaking last week at a Ballantine’s Golf Club event before the Scottish Open, Irish captain Paul McGinley concurred: “Every single document that has come through to me as team captain has been forwarded onto the players,” he told “Names, contacts, information, everything. I’ve been the direct point of contact. I don’t think Americans have a team captain so maybe they should’ve looked at that.”

As well as Jordan Spieth, it was also announced that Frenchman Victor Dubuisson and South Korean K.T. Kim would not be going to the Olympics.

Peter Dawson :: Jordan Spieth withdraws

What do you make of Jordan Spieth’s withdrawal, which means that the world’s four best players won’t be going to Rio? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.

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