Golf.com reports that Jordan Speith, the #3-ranked player in the world, has withdrawn from competition in next month’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Golf is being played at the Olympics this year for the first time since 1904, but the competitive field has been absolutely gutted due to withdraws over concerns about the Zika virus. As noted by Kyle Porter of CBS Sports, elite players from a variety of nations had withdrawn before Speith, including Jason Day (Australia), Dustin Johnson (USA), and Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), among a variety of others.
The rules for qualification into the tournament limit an absolute maximum of four players per country, with players from each continent required to be represented in both genders’ 60-player fields. This means that players who are ranked considerably lower on the world stage — such as #319 Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe — have created new openings behind them after they withdrew.
Golf.com adds that the four-man American team now consists of Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, and Matt Kuchar.