Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen has become the second major winner is an many days to turn down the chance to be part of golf’s return to the Olympics this summer.
Hot on the heels of Adam Scott confirming he wouldn’t be in the Australian team in Rio, Oosthuizen has now withdrawn from the South African line-up.
The 2010 Open champion told his country’s Olympic committee of his decision after long deliberations, citing family and schedule issues.
“I have always represented South Africa with pride so didn’t make my decision without a great deal of thought,” said Oosthuizen in a statement issued by his management company.
“I would like to wish our golfers and all other athletes competing in Brazil all the very best for success.”
Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, also said his decision was partly based on “an extremely busy playing schedule around the time of the Olympics”.
Due to golf making its return to the Games for the first time since 1904, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship have both been moved forward on the fixture list.
It means the world’s top players being faced with a schedule that takes in the US Open, either the WGC event or French Open, the Open Championship and the US PGA Championship in a six-week run that also includes the Scottish Open.
Scott’s decision has been criticised by some leading figures in golf as well as Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser.
“I think that’s sad. I think it’s sad for the Olympics and for the game of golf,” said 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus.
“I don’t know Adam’s circumstances, so I couldn’t comment on what he’s dealing with. Obviously, he felt like he couldn’t play, and if he felt that way, I understand. But it’s unfortunate.”
Fellow American Johnny Miller added: “Playing for your country is a lot bigger than playing for yourself. I would say I don’t care how tired you are, and I wouldn’t even care where you place in the tournament, but you need to be there to represent your country.”
Triple gold medallist Fraser took to Facebook to launch a savage attack on the world No 7.
“Well done Adam great to put your country on hold so that you can fulfil your own schedule,” she wrote.
“How much money do you want in life. I guess working three jobs a week to secure my place as a Olympic swimmer has given me the strength to say what I feel about sportsmen and women that do this.
“I am still trying to survive at 78 years of age but a very proud Australian.”