A few months ago Gary Player, captain of the South African men’s golf team that will be competing in Rio in August, expressed his excitement for the return of golf to the Olympics.
Since then, the complexion of his team has changed considerably as several of his country’s top players have announced they don’t plan on competing. First it was Louis Oosthuizen, then it was Charl Schwartzel. Now, Branden Grace has announced that he, too, is skipping the Games, citing the Zika virus.
“I’m getting married in November and hoping to start a family,” Grace said. “I must put my health first.”
Next on the list to represent South Africa are Jaco Van Zyl, a 37-year-old who has won 14 times on South Africa’s Sunshine Tour, and Brandon Stone, a 23-year-old who won the South Africa Open earlier this year. But Player offered a possible alternative that frankly sounds as appealing as anything to us.
@2016OlympicGolf I will be in Rio, have no plans for more children & averaged 70 last year. Ready to play if anymore withdrawals. 😉😏
— GARY PLAYER (@garyplayer) June 24, 2016