LONDON (Reuters) - Danny Willett became the latest golfer to suggest he may skip this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, as he evaluates the threat the Zika virus might pose.
Earlier this week, world number three Rory McIlroy said he would have to “monitor” the situation with the virus in Brazil, hinting he might decide against competing. Englishman Willett feels much the same.
“I‘m going to have a sit-down with the guys this week and just double-check everything,” Willett said at a news conference on Tuesday, as he prepares to play the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth this week.
Zika, which is carried by mosquitoes, has been linked to thousands of suspected cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect, in Brazil.
“If it turns out that it would be a massive threat to myself or to Nick or to Little Man, then I probably wouldn’t go. Family comes first,” he added.
“Little Man” is his son, Zachariah James, born March 30, eight days before this year’s Masters Championship, which Willett won to secure his first major. Of the two events, he said, the Masters was the less important.
“Golf’s a job,” Willetts said. “As brilliant a job as it is, golf’s a job. Life is miles more important.”
That does not mean he is unaware of just what winning the Masters means.
“... We get to go back there for the rest of our lives and we get to be announced on the tee for a year as Masters Champion, all the perks that go with it,” he said.
“But like I said, golf’s golf, but it’s really more important for me off the golf course, what’s happened and how good that is.”
Reporting by Larry King; Editing by Toby Davis