(ATR) Fijian golfer Vijay Singh says he won’t play in the Olympic golf tournament in Rio, rather focusing on a busy PGA Tour schedule this summer.
Vijay Singh has won three major titles (Getty Images)
Singh, 53, a three-time major champion and former world number one, informed Olympic officials in Fiji that he will not participate in Brazil, Aug. 11-14.
“The timing of it, you know I have to focus over here [on the PGA Tour]. I would like to play in the Olympics, but the Zika virus, you know and all that crap,” Singh told GolfChannel.com on Tuesday at a tournament in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Singh, who had been currently qualified for the 60-player Olympic tournament, was removed from the Olympic rankings on the International Golf Federation (IGF) website.
The veteran pro golfer previously said that he was looking forward to representing Fiji at the Games, but that instead he wants to focus on improving his game while playing the PGA Tour. Singh failed to make the cut at last week’s Masters tournament, an event that he won in 2000.
“It wasn’t that difficult [a decision],” Singh said. “I feel bad, I wanted to play and finally decided against it. It’s in the middle of the Tour over here and I’m trying to figure out my game.”
Singh, who turned pro in 1982, has 59 professional victories, 34 of them coming on the PGA Tour.
However, he has struggled lately and is currently 215th in the official World Golf Rankings. Singh has missed the cut at his last three tournaments including last week in Augusta.
Singh is not the only veteran golfer who has withdrawn from the Olympic tournament in Rio, as the sport returns to the Games for the first time in more than a century.
Miguel Angel Jimenez (Getty Images)
Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, 52, who is currently the first alternate for his country, has also removed his name from the Olympic pool.
Jimenez, whose nickname is “the mechanic” joked about the Olympic experience last September when he said: “Of course I would like to be in the Olympics. Can you imagine Miguel Angel Jimenez in Rio with a big fat cigar walking through the middle of the Olympic Village with all the athletes around? I would love that.”
Despite the seeming lack of interest from Singh and Jimenez, numerous pros said they couldn’t wait to represent their nations this August in Rio during last week’s Masters tournament.
“I’m looking forward to it. It should be the experience of a lifetime,” Henrik Stenson of Sweden told Around the Rings.
“I’ve never been to an Olympic Games before so it’s going to be a great experience I’m sure. I’m going to be proud to walk into the opening ceremony with the rest of the Swedish athletes to represent my country,” Stenson said.
World number one Jason Day of Australia said: “Having the opportunity to represent your country, my country of Australia, is huge and I'm looking forward to it and it would be a complete honor to go down there and represent Australia and try to win a gold medal for my country.”
Written by Brian Pinelli
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