Olympics: American Reed game for Rio 'risk' despite numerous withdrawals

USA's Patrick Reed during the first round of the  Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on July 7, 2016.
USA's Patrick Reed during the first round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on July 7, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

(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 No. 13 Patrick Reed, it is a risk worth taking.

The 25-year-old will replace US Open champion and world No. 2 Dustin Johnson, who last Friday pulled out of Aug 5-21 Games citing concerns over the virus.

Meanwhile, American world No. 7 Rickie Fowler has confirmed his participation at Rio.

"I got the e-mail and phone call from Team USA," Reed told the 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 No. 1 Jason Day, No. 4 Rory McIlroy, former top-ranked Vijay Singh of Fiji and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa have all pulled out owing 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."