SPIETH: Pullling out of Olympics hardest choice he ever made

Fowler's comments about golf as an Olympic sport comes one day after McIlroy made some controversial comments about just that.

There's plenty of blame to go around, from skittish golfers who latched on to the threat of the Zika to justify their decisions to tone-deaf executives who made a mess of this year's schedule, cramming too many important tournaments into too short of a time period. I got into golf to win.

The Northern Irishman's criticism of the sport didn't stop there, however.

Despite the apprehension surrounding Rio and the athletes' decisions to participate or stay home, one thing remains clear: Golf is back in the Olympics, and the world is ready to watch.

American two-time major victor Jordan Spieth became the latest star to withdraw on Monday - meaning the top four in the world would not be in Rio - as the final list of 60 was unveiled by Dawson at Royal Troon, hosts to this week's British Open.

"We have to respect the individual decisions, even if they are going contrary to the recommendations given by the World Health Organization, if Zika is given as a reason", Bach said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press and two other worldwide news agencies.

World number one Jason Day, number two Dustin Johnson and two-times Major victor Jordan Spieth have all withdrawn.

When asked if he'll watch golf's return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence, McIlroy, who pulled out of the Games citing health concerns, said no.

"I've just been excited", said one of Britain's contenders Justin Rose. "I'm a huge believer in Olympic golf and playing for your country". I understand that it's been tough scheduling, and I understand all of that side of things. "You guys [reporters] have put that without me saying it".

"I think you've seen, with the amount of top professionals that have decided not to go this time, where it stands in our minds and maybe it would have been best served with amateurs going to play".

"I got into golf to win championships and win major championships", McIlroy told reporters Tuesday.

Spieth noted he will not participate in the John Deere Classic, which coincides with the Olympics on August 11-14, saying he doesn't think it's an "appropriate move" to play that week. I got into golf to win.

Pressed on what he would watch, McIlroy added: "Probably the events like track and field, swimming, diving - the stuff that matters". "I'm very happy with the decision I made and I have no regrets about it". "I thought about all this ahead of time".

McIlroy missed last year's Open at St. Andrews because he ruptured ankle ligaments in a freak accident on the soccer pitch, so he's glad to be back playing in the oldest championship in golf. They're as passionate about the Olympics as I am. "Obviously with golf being an outdoor sport played around the water out there 20, 30 miles out from the city, you are probably at higher risk than most other athletes in most other sports who are in much more of a contained environment". "That is an insult to everybody that has spent time to further this game for its inclusion in the Olympics".

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