Just a few weeks after gently voicing his worries about the Zika virus ahead of the 2016 Olympics, Rory McIlroy officially pulled out of the games in a statement on Wednesday:
“After speaking with those closest to me, I’ve come to realize that my health and my family’s health comes before anything else.”
Rory is engaged to be married to Erica Stoll and has talked openly about the pair starting a family together in “the next couple of years,” so on a personal level, it’s hard to begrudge him not going. But from a golf perspective, it’s a downright disaster.
Olympic golf in many ways was doomed to the start.
After being brought back into the games for the first time in more than 100 years, golf needed to capitalize on its moment with a bold plan. The game is so entrenched in the tradition of its four majors championships that the only way to get fans and players excited was to hit them with a lightning strike. Something so different that it excites players and fans to the point that they actually want to accept an outsider — something that golf has never been very good at.
A world match play tournament was proposed, as was…