South African golfer skips two majors to focus on Olympics

Jaco Van Zyl says competing in Brazil "is an honor I don’t take for granted"

golf, jaco van zyl, olympics, south africa

Picture by: Brian Lawless / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The buildup to the Olympics Games golf tournament has been far from smooth, but it looks like a South African golfer is the new darling of the IOC.

Jaco Van Zyl has withdrawn from both The Open Championship and the USPGA Championship to solely focus on competing in Brazil.

The South African is only in a position to compete in Brazil, after compatriots Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace,  and Charl Schwartzel pulled out of the competition.

"To me, the Olympics is the pinnacle of all sporting events and to have the chance to represent Team South Africa on sports’ biggest stage is an honor I don’t take for granted", the 37-year-old said in a statement. "I need to go to Brazil with the rest of the South African team knowing that I am in peak mental and physical health and that I can give my best over four rounds."

Despite pulling out of the two majors, Van Zyl hopes to compete in them next year, but he is unsure if he will get another opportunity to be an Olympian.

"The majors will still be there next year, but I don’t know if I will get another chance in 2020. To be part of the first South African team at the Olympics is a massive honor, and I owe it to [South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee], Gary Player, South Africa, Paula [Reto], Ashleigh [Simon] and the player who will be joining me in the men’s competition to be at my best."

The men's event takes place at the Olympic course between August 11th and 14th.