Olympic withdrawal hardest decision of my life: Spieth

Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:41am EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

TROON, Scotland (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth's decision to miss golf's return to the Olympics next month after a 112-year hiatus was the hardest of his life, the world number three said on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old American adopted an appropriately respectful tone as he gave his reasons for missing the Rio de Janeiro Games.

"This was probably the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life," Spieth told a news conference ahead of the 145th British Open, which starts at Royal Troon on Thursday.

"This was something I very much struggled with. I bounced back and forth with it and ultimately a decision had to be made yesterday."

The twice major winner's choice not to travel to Brazil means none of the world's top four golfers will be competing in Rio after Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy had previously pulled out.

Spieth stressed that it was not just a worry about the Zika outbreak that made him withdraw.

"I'm not specifically pinpointing any one thing in my health concerns," he said, referring to the mosquito-borne virus that the World Health Organization says is spreading rapidly in the Americas.

"You guys have put that out without me saying it. This is health concerns as a whole. I had to weigh the risk for the reward."   Continued...

Golf - British Open - practice round - Royal Troon, Scotland, Britain - 12/07/2016. Jordan Spieth of the U.S. adjusts his cap during a news conference. REUTERS/Phil Noble