In a pre-US Open press conference at Oakmont, Jordan Spieth gave a strong indication he is looking forward to representing his country in the Rio Olympics
While it would be overstating it to say that top-name potential golfing Olympians have been dropping like flies, enough big names have been turning down the chance to represent their countries – among them Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman and Vijay Singh – to cause disappointment among those who worked hard to secure golf’s Olympic return after a 112-year absence over the new Reserva Marapendi course in Rio.
Whatever your own thoughts and views on whether golf should be an Olympic sport, the Rio organisers will have been hugely buoyed that Jordan Spieth should choose his press conference on Monday ahead of this year’s US Open at Oakmont to confirm that he currently has no plans to jump the Olympic ship – just the opposite, it would seem.
Asked what had prompted him to make the decision to compete for sure, Spieth at first urged a little caution to the gun-jumping journo. “You’re putting words into my mouth, sir,” he replied. “I’m not sure where I’ll play next, even after this week. I mean, you just never know.”
However, he then went on to give every indication that he would be doing his darndest to become the third American to lift individual golfing gold in the Summer Olympics following the success of compatriots Charles Sands and Margaret Abbott way back in 1900 in Paris.
“Right now, I’m pretty confident with what we’ve heard from not only the PGA Tour but our personal outreach,” he continued when quizzed about the Zika virus threat.
“I think being an Olympian is just an absolute tremendous honor. Do I think being an Olympian outweighs any significant health threat? No. If I thought that the threat was significant, I certainly would not go. But based on what’s come to my knowledge at this point, it seems like it’s going to be an extremely memorable experience and I look forward to trying to win a gold for the United States.”
This will no doubt come as a much-needed fillip for golf’s Olympic organisers.