(Reuters) – Golf’s return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 has been hit by several high-profile pullouts due to fears over the Zika virus but for American world number 13 Patrick Reed, it’s a risk worth taking.
The 25-year-old will replace U.S. Open champion and world number two Dustin Johnson, who, on Friday, pulled out of Aug.5-21 Games citing concerns over the virus.
American world number seven Rickie Fowler has confirmed his participation at Rio.
“I got the email and phone call from Team USA,” Reed told British media after finishing tied 10th at the Scottish Open on Sunday.
“Yes, it’s a risk, but I feel like it’s a risk that we are all willing to take.”
World number one Jason Day, number four Rory McIlroy, Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa have all pulled out due to fears of the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause crippling birth defects in infants.
Reed said he has received information about the ground reality at Rio, which has also been battling increased crime rates along with financial and political turmoil.
“Basically (information) how everyone is, how the Zika virus is doing and security. Those were my only concerns,” Reed said.
“I went through a lot of things with them and we’re all in. We can’t wait to go and play for USA and have some fun.”
(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)