Sunday, January 21, 2018
Golf

Oosthuizen declines playing in Olympics

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen won't be taking part in golf's return to the Olympics this year, the third major champion to withdraw in the past week.

Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews is No. 12 in the world, said Thursday that he was pulling out because of family and scheduling issues.

"I have always represented South Africa with pride, so I didn't make my decision without a great deal of thought," Oosthuizen said.

Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion and No. 7 in the world, cited the busy schedule around the Olympics when the Australian said Tuesday that he was withdrawing.

Vijay Singh, a three-time major from Fiji, said last week he was not playing. With the 53-year-old not playing, Fiji will not have a representative in Rio because no other male professional has any ranking points.

Peter Dawson, president of the International Golf Federation said in a statement: "The IGF understands the challenges players face in terms of scheduling this summer, and it is regrettable to see a few … withdraw from this year's Games."

Potential golfers must submit on May 6 to Olympic drug testing, which is more stringent than the random testing on the PGA Tour. Candidates for the Rio Games are subject to testing at any time and must inform officials of their whereabouts.

Golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, a 72-hole stroke-play event for 60 men and 60 women. Qualifying is based on the world ranking, with no country allowed more than two players if they are outside the top 15. Countries, such as the United States in men's golf and South Korea in women's golf, are allowed a maximum of four players if they are in the top 15.

Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus told Golf Digest on Wednesday that Scott not playing was "sad for the Olympics and for the game of golf."

"I don't know Adam's circumstances, so I couldn't comment on what he's dealing with," he said. "But it's unfortunate. What I'm concerned about is golf has a little bit of momentum going right now. If the guys don't want to participate, then we might not be in the Olympics after this."

PGA: Brendan Steele topped the Texas Open leaderboard at 8 under through 13 holes when the first round was suspended because of darkness in San Antonio, Texas. Steele, whose only tour victory came in the tournament five years ago, was unable to finish the opening round after play was delayed 3½ hours because of morning rain. Among those who finished, Charley Hoffman had 6-under 66, a stroke ahead of Stuart Appleby and Peter Malnati.

LPGA: So Yeon Ryu shot a tournament-record 9-under 63 for the first-round lead in the Swinging Skirts Classic at Daly City, Calif. Taiwan's Candie Kung and Japan's Haru Nomura were two strokes back at 65.

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