Earlier today, both Jason Day and Shane Lowry released statements on their respective Twitter pages that neither will take part at August’s Olympic Games in golf.
That brings to 11 the number of golfers who have opted out of the Rio games (no female golfer has pulled out as of this moment). Interestingly, after Rory McIlroy announced he would not be taking part he received plenty of abuse for Twitter trolls.
Jason Day prompted a sarcastic remark from Katie Taylor about his decision to withdraw.
Another one bites the dust. I wonder what excuse the golfers would of made if there was no virus. https://t.co/z5GUgQVEc2
— Katie Taylor (@KatieTaylor) June 28, 2016
Shane Lowry, however, seems immune from such criticism. He himself may have been surprised at the positivity of his social media mentions after opting against a golf trip to Brazil in August.
Will Shane Lowry get the same abuse that Rory McIroy got for pulling out of Rio 2016? pic.twitter.com/hiT394k1jS
— Joel Slattery (@JoelSlattery) June 28, 2016
It is interesting that the Offaly man isn’t getting the flack that others received when they announced their decision. Even Irish people who had no problem criticising McIlroy seem to be giving Lowry a free pass.
Sure, Lowry is a much more popular figure than the Ulsterman but they still effectively did the same thing – turn down the chance to represent Ireland.
I’m not suggesting we should be trolling Lowry, but do wonder why we didn’t have the same calm, measured response to Rory’s withdrawal?
There is a general point about golfers’ lack of interest in Rio 2016. It has already made their summer schedule tighter than usual as they have two majors on two different continents in the space of three weeks to worry about. For players like McIlroy and (probably) Lowry, there is a Ryder Cup coming up in September.
Another point worth mentioning is that while people from other sports are slagging off the golfers, it’s not the be all and end all for them. If track and field is your sport, or if you are an amateur boxer, the Olympics is the pinnacle of the sport.
If you are a European golfer, Rio 2016 is not in the top five competitions this year. That more so than anything else is probably a key reason for the withdrawals.