The Rio Olympics are in full swing, with many athletes experiencing the moments they’ve worked years for at the pinnacle of their respective sports. But while Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps enjoy their quadrennial moments in the sun, the Olympics are apparently a lower priority in golf.
Many of the top golfers in the world declined to make the trip to Rio, and this year’s U.S. Open champ Dustin Johnson was one of them. He dropped out while citing concerns about the Zika virus, and as you can see above, is enjoying the resulting vacation with his fiancee, Paulina Gretzky. Of course, the internet being what it is, a bunch of people took to the comments to call out Dustin for not representing his country. Gretzky hopped in to defend her husband, and did so in profane fashion (screencap courtesy of Golf Digest):
Golf hasn’t been in the Olympic games since 1904, so it simply doesn’t have the cache among golfers. After all, unlike in other sports with domestic leagues, golf’s major tournaments are already international competitions. Rory McIlroy, one of the most famous golfers on Earth, claimed he didn’t care much about Olympic gold compared to open titles, and said he probably wouldn’t even watch the Olympic golf event.
So many casual sports fans are fed Olympic propaganda about the surpassing international significance of the games, and they assume that no one would turn down the opportunity to don the stars and stripes. But everyone is allowed to attach their own significance to their athletic careers, and Johnson’s concerns about birth defects as he anticipates having more children with his wife are reasonable. Gretzky may have come back hard, but she’s not wrong.