Oosthuizen the latest Major champ to snub the Olympics

LONDON • Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen has become the third high-profile golfer to withdraw from this August's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, citing family and schedule issues.

The South African follows what could become a pattern, started last week by Fiji's former world No. 1 Vijay Singh and continued on Tuesday by Australia's 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott.

"I have always represented South Africa with pride, so didn't make my decision without a great deal of thought," said Oosthuizen. "I would like to wish our golfers and all other athletes competing in Brazil all the very best for success."

According to his management company, the world No. 12 informed South Africa's Olympic committee of his decision "after long deliberations citing family and schedule issues".

The decisions by Oosthuizen, Scott and Singh were described as "regrettable" by the International Golf Federation.

Singh, a three-time Major winner, announced last week that the Zika virus was his main reason for skipping the Rio Games.

For Scott, a hectic playing schedule from mid-June until mid-August was his biggest cause for concern, with the last three golf Majors this year crammed into a seven-week span because of the Rio Games.

Another big star set to miss the Olympics is 14-time Major champion Tiger Woods. The world No. 486, who has not played since August due to a bad back, is unlikely to make the United States team.

He still has no timetable on his return to competition, and long-time friend Michael Jordan recently said that he believes a "tired" Woods wants to call it quits but cannot bring himself to do it.

"I think he really wishes he could retire, but he doesn't know how to do it yet, and I don't think he wants to leave it where it is right now,'' the basketball legend told ESPN.

Jordan, who struggled with his own retirement, also suggested that Woods will not regain his dominant form.

"The thing is I love him so much that I can't tell him, 'You're not gonna be great again'," said the six-time National Basketball Association champion.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2016, with the headline 'Oosthuizen the latest Major champ to snub the Olympics'. Print Edition | Subscribe