IGF president: Golfers overreacting to Zika


International Golf Federation (IGF) president Peter Dawson believes players are overreacting to the Zika virus after a flurry of withdrawals from the Olympics.

Jordan Spieth joined the likes of Jason Day and Rory McIlroy in citing the virus as a reason for not competing in Rio de Janeiro.

While unwilling to comment on individual cases, Dawson feels the reaction to Zika has been over the top.

"Personally, I think there's been something of an overreaction to the Zika situation, but that's for individuals to determine, and there's certainly a great deal of concern about this issue inside the game of golf, no doubt about that," he told a news conference on Monday.

"We have certainly faced a number of challenges, as I've said along the road, this is another one. But we remain confident that we'll stage two very exciting and compelling golf competitions in Rio.

"We have all of the top women playing, and I think the count is eight out of the top 15 men are going to be playing.

"So we're going to have strong fields, and the players are going to have a wonderful experience."

Dawson said he had no reason to believe that players were simply using Zika as a reason to mask a lack of enthusiasm.

"I have no knowledge that people are using Zika as an excuse," he said.

"I think there is a genuine concern about this, not just amongst the players but among their families, their wives and their girlfriends and so on. And I think it's genuine.

"What I'm hoping is that when we come to play in Tokyo in 2020 at Kasumigaseki that the top players do support Olympic golf. I think it's very important that they do.

"As I've said before, it's the biggest grow-the-game opportunity available, and we need grow-the-game opportunities.

"And I can't think of a better way for players to give back to the game, frankly, than to support Olympic golf."