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Published: 16:23 | 11/7/16

Spieth opts out of Olympics


Jordan Spieth has become the latest golfer to withdraw from next month's Rio Olympics, Peter Dawson, the International Golf Federation president, has confirmed. .

Golf's return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence has been overshadowed by a number of high-profile withdrawals - Day, McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Shane Lowry, Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh have all decided against travelling to Brazil due to concerns over the Zika virus.

Recently Spieth admitted he felt under pressure to compete due to the withdrawals, but the two-time major winner has opted not to play in the Summer Olympics.

Spieth's place on the US team will be taken by Matt Kuchar, joining Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed.

The Zika virus has been linked to defects in newborn babies and Guillain-Barre, which causes temporary paralysis in adults, but Dawson has accused players of overreacting to the threat.

"We have invested a huge amount of time and effort on player education and they've had no lack of opportunity, I think, to make their own well-informed decisions about what they want to do," Dawson said.

"It's certainly disappointing that we've had so many withdrawals on the men's side, and wonderful that all of the women have been very supportive.

"There is no doubt that the number of withdrawals hasn't shown golf in the best light and we have to accept that. But we do understand why these individual decisions have been taken.

"Personally, I think there's been something of an over-reaction to the Zika situation, but that's for individuals to determine. I have no knowledge that people are using Zika as an excuse. I think there is a genuine concern about this, not just amongst the players but among their families, their wives and their girlfriends.

"What I'm hoping is that when we come to play in Tokyo in 2020 that the top players do support Olympic golf. I think it's very important that they do. It's the biggest grow-the-game opportunity available and I can't think of a better way for players to give back to the game, frankly, than to support Olympic golf."


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