• Spieth leaning toward Rio despite Zika fears

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    Jordan Spieth of the United States plays his shot during a practice round prior to the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club on Tuesday in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.  AFP PHOTO

    Jordan Spieth of the United States plays his shot during a practice round prior to the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club on Tuesday in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.
    AFP PHOTO

    OAKMONT, United States: Jordan Spieth, gearing up for the defense of his US Open title this week, is “pretty confident” he’ll be heading to the Rio Olympics despite fears over the Zika virus in Brazil.

    “Right now, I’m pretty confident with what we’ve heard, not only from the PGA Tour but our personal outreach,” Spieth said of whether the news on Zika, a mosquito borne virus linked to brain deformities in newborn babies, would prevent him from playing in golf’s return to the Games for the first time since 1904.

    However, the 22-year-old Texan admitted things could change.

    “I mean, you just never know,” Spieth said. “I think being an Olympian is just an absolute tremendous honor.

    “Do I think being an Olympian outweighs any significant health threat? No. If I thought that the threat was significant, I certainly would not go.

    “But based on what’s come to my knowledge at this point, it seems like it’s going to be an extremely memorable experience and look forward to trying to win a gold for the United States.”

    Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy said last month that he could reject the chance to play because of Zika, although he, too, was on board for the time being.

    Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Australia’s Marc Leishman have already decided not to participate because of the virus, while Aussie Adam Scott and South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have pulled out for what they say are scheduling reasons.

    AFP

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