Jaco Van Zyl puts Rio Olympics ahead of majors
By Peter Gilbert
Last Updated: 08/07/16 12:26am
South African golfer Jaco van Zyl has announced he will skip two majors this month in order to play in the Olympics.
Three South Africans alone, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace, have decided not to go, giving Van Zyl his chance on his country's team when golf returns to the Games for the first time in 112 years.
World No 65 Van Zyl said he is feeling the effects of a long season and has withdrawn from next week's Open and the PGA in order to prioritise next month's Games.
"I expect that there will be a camp that will criticize me for withdrawing from the majors," Van Zyl said.
"Rory [McIlroy] said in a recent press conference that we play four 'Olympics' a year because major titles are what we play for, but I don't agree. To me, the Olympics is the pinnacle of all sporting events.
"The majors will still be there next year, but I don't know if I will get another chance (at the Olympics) in 2020."
Van Zyl's decision will be a small but welcome boost for Rio organizers, who had envisioned a golf competition with the best players in the world battling it out for an Olympic gold medal.
However, in addition to Day and four-time major winner McIlroy, another five players in the top 25 in the world have said they are not going to Rio.