27 Apr 2016

Golfers continue to pull out of Olympics

11:05 am on 27 April 2016

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa has become the latest leading golfer to opt out of this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Schwartzel joins a fast growing list of elite players that also includes compatriot Louis Oosthuizen.

South African golfer Charl Schwartzel

South African golfer Charl Schwartzel Photo: Photosport

Schwartzel's decision has been announced by team captain Gary Player who said it weakened the country's chances of a medal in Brazil.

"I am sad and disappointed that several top players have withdrawn from the Olympic Games in Rio," Player said in a statement.

"I was sorry to hear that Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have withdrawn their names from consideration.

"I would have given anything to play in the Olympics. South Africa had a great team, but now obviously, it will not be as good."

Former Open winner Oosthuizen, 33, pulled out last week citing family commitments and a taxing schedule.

No reason was given for the withdrawal of Schwartzel, who has worked his way back up to 20th in the world rankings.

Golf returns to the Olympics after a 112-year absence, but its inclusion has been questioned by Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser who criticised compatriot Adam Scott's decision to skip the Rio Games.

Fiji's former world number one Vijay Singh has also opted out of the event.