Cape Town - Colin Montgomerie says he would have represented his country
at the Rio Olympics despite the Zika virus fears that have stopped some
of golf's top players from competing in the world showpiece.
Montgomerie questioned the big difference men (13) and women (one)
who have so far withdrawn from playing in Rio and adds that he feels for
golf's future at the Games.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus which has been linked to defects in
newborn babies as well as Guillain-Barre, a rare neurological syndrome
that causes temporary paralysis in adults.
The eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner was part of the
delegation which presented golf's Olympic bid in 2009 after last being
in the Games in 1904.
"It is a shame that a number of top players have decided not to go,"
the 53-year-old said ahead of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish
"If there was as many ladies not going, you might have thought that
was okay but it's not so it's disappointing. First time we're back in
the Olympics since 1904 and we don't show up.
"I thought it (Zika) was a disease that affected women more than it did men. There you go."
When asked if the Zika threat would have stopped him playing in Rio
the Scot said: "No. No. I'd have gone and I think Ernie Els said the
same thing. He's now up for qualification because of the number of South
Africans that haven't actually qualified (Louis Oosthuizen, Charl
Schwartzel and Branden Grace have all withdrawn).
"I would be honoured to go. Having presented in front of the
committee for golf to get into the Olympics, the least I can do is turn
up," said Montgomerie.
"The IOC will have a good look at this and think, 'Hang on a minute,
what's happened here?' The money that had to be spent to buy the land to
build the course to all the stuff that goes on.... it was
multi-millions they had to find and then (players) do not show up.
"If I was in charge, I'd have a second look at it," he added.
The latest player to withdraw is Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge saying it was financially motivated.
"The reason for my decision is not my concern about the Zika virus.
It is truly a business decision," De Jonge told GolfChannel.com. "It
would have been a great honour to play for my country."
Spain's Sergio Garcia confirmed via Twitter that he would be playing
in Rio. "I know there r some dangers but representing Spain, trying to
make golf grow & becoming an Olympian r too important so I'll be at
Sweden's world number six Henrik Stenson also confirmed that he would
be playing. "I'm not afraid of mosquitoes. I'm more afraid of bears.
"I've been looking forward to playing in Rio for quite some time.
There's different aspects to it - there's being part of the Olympic
movement and seeing an Olympic Games from kind of the inside. I think
that's going to be an experience of a lifetime for a sporting fan," said
"And then of course if I can go there, compete and compete well, if I
make myself and my country happy, that would be something very special.
I have a few nice trophies at home and it would be nice to hang an
Olympic medal next to them. I think that would look kind of cool.
"It might be the only time when it's a competitive advantage to be
40-plus and done with the bambino thing. I've got three kids at home and
I'm not looking to have any more. The Zika virus is not a concern of
"Like with any competition, five years down the line you're not going
to think about who wasn't there. You're going to think about who won