DUBLIN, Ohio — For the first time, Jason Day has publicly expressed doubts about playing in the Olympic golf tournament in Rio de Janeiro for fear of contracting the Zika virus.
Day, 28, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, has long spoken of his desire to compete in the Games and represent Australia, despite the reservations of others, including countryman Adam Scott, who pulled out due to scheduling issues.
But Day said Friday after the second round at the Memorial Tournament that the story he read about Detroit Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez contracting the virus concerned him enough to cause him to reassess his own situation.
“The Detroit player — he was sick for a month and half, and we just don’t need that,” Day said.
He said his participation will come down to making “a smart, educated decision.”
“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 [question of] what happens if I go there, get it, and bring it back,” Day said. “Because they don’t know. The recommendation from the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] is X, but you don’t know how long it will last in your body for. So I am a little wary on it.”
Poulter sidelined for at least four months
DUBLIN, Ohio — Ian Poulter will be out of golf for the next four months with a foot injury, a big setback for the fiery Englishman in a Ryder Cup year.
Poulter has been dealing with an arthritic joint in his right foot for more than two years, and it has reached the point where it is painful to walk and practice. He missed the last two cuts on the PGA TOUR in Texas and has fallen to No. 85 in the world, his lowest ranking since 2003.
The 40-year-old hasn’t won since the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in 2012.
“I am obviously disappointed to be in this situation, especially during a Ryder Cup year,” Poulter said. “Right now, rest and rehab take priority in me returning to full strength later this season. I look forward to resuming a full schedule as soon as I am able.”
Poulter was far down the Ryder Cup standings, in European Tour money and world ranking points, though his record in the Ryder Cup would have been difficult to ignore if he had found some form in the coming months.
He has been a catalyst for Europe, notably when he sparked the greatest comeback by a visiting team at Medinah in 2012. Poulter birdied his last five holes in the final fourballs match to turn a loss into a point, and he closed an undefeated week with a singles victory as Europe rallied from a 10-6 deficit to win.
Poulter has a 12-4-2 record in five appearances. He would be an ideal candidate as a vice captain. Darren Clarke last week selected Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington and Paul Lawrie as three of his five assistants.
Poulter’s doctor, Ara Suppiah, said the arthritic joint has worsened over the last year, and Poulter was able to keep playing after several cortisone shots. Suppiah said further shots would risk thinning the bones and leading to stress fractures, which might require significant time away from golf.
“We feel that the best option at this stage is to take some time off to allow complete recovery and rehabilitation of his foot,” Suppiah said. “This will give him the best chance of returning to the game sooner and preventing further deterioration of the affected joint.”
Poulter would receive a major medical extension on the PGA TOUR for the 2015-16 Season if he doesn’t play the rest of the year. He remains exempt on the European Tour based on his No. 7 standing on the career money list.
Royal Troon to add women
TROON, Scotland — Royal Troon Golf Club, the host of The Open this year, is set to end its male-only membership policy after more than three-quarters of its members took a survey and supported allowing women into the club.
A Troon committee will propose at a July 1 meeting that its membership grants approval for female members to join.
Troon official Martin Cheyne says the club needs to “reflect the modern society.”
Royal Troon, formed in 1878, is sharing the responsibility of hosting The Open with The Ladies Golf Club in Troon that uses its facilities.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews decided in 2014 to open its membership to women after 260 years of male exclusivity.
Muirfield was banned last month from hosting The Open after its membership didn’t approve female members joining.