TROON, United Kingdom, July 11- World number three Jordan Spieth became the latest leading golfer to decide not to play at the Olympics next month in Rio de Janeiro, the International Golf Federation president Peter Dawson announced Monday.
The 22-year-old American’s withdrawal means golf’s return to the Olympics after a 112-year hiatus will not include the top four players in the world — Australia’s Jason Day, this year’s US Open champion Dustin Johnson, Spieth, and Rory McIlroy.
Spieth, who dominated the sport last year winning the Masters and the US Open whilst finishing fourth in The Open and second in the PGA, cited like many of his rivals fears over the mosquito-borne Zika virus which has been linked to birth defects.
Spieth’s place in the four-man USA Team will be taken by Matt Kuchar. Spieth’s withdrawal brings to 17 the number of leading male golfers electing not to travel to Brazil.
Sixty male golfers – for whom Monday was the deadline for qualifying for the Games – will compete in Rio.