More Sports / Golf

Matsuyama concerned about Zika virus in Rio

Kyodo

Hideki Matsuyama on Tuesday admitted he harbors fears over the Zika virus that is causing havoc for organizers of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“I have concerns,” Matsuyama told reporters after practice ahead of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

Golf returns to the Olympics after a 112-year absence, but a number of top players, including Rory McIlroy, have suggested the Zika virus, as well as tight scheduling, may keep them from making the trip to Rio.

Matsuyama is a virtual certainty to be picked to represent Japan, but the 24-year-old was noncommittal about playing in Rio.

“I won’t know right until the last minute,” said Matsuyama. “I know that players who are married and players who have kids are more concerned about it. I am not married but it still bothers me.”

Matsuyama said there had been no dialogue with the Japanese Olympic Committee over the issue.

“I have not been contacted by anyone and it is a bit much under the current circumstances to have someone tell you to go (and play at the Olympics),” he said.

The World Health Organization recently dismissed calls for the Olympics to be moved, but the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects if mothers are infected, remains a worry for many athletes.

Although the Olympics only come around once every four years, the health risks mean a decision on whether or not to play in Rio will not be an easy one for Matsuyama.

“I don’t know what the current situation is (in Rio). It might be alright and it might be bad,” he said.