TROON, Scotland (AP) — The Latest on the British Open (all times local):
Dustin Johnson is blaming it on Rio.
The U.S. Open champion withdrew from the Olympics late last week because of concerns over the Zika virus. He says the PGA Tour did a good job informing him of risks and making him feel comfortable, but that his family’s health was more important.
Johnson says if the games were in Tokyo this year, he would have played. He says he wanted to play in Rio de Janeiro, but he and fiancee Paulina Gretzky are going to have more children.
He says “I know the risk is very lower, but if something were to happen, I’d never forgive myself for that.”
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers made it clear Wednesday that Donald Trump-owned Turnberry is still part of the British Open rotation.
He just doesn’t know when.
Slumbers said the Open has nine courses on its rotation, and that includes Turnberry.
He says the Open is scheduled for Royal Birkdale next year, Carnoustie in 2018 and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland in 2019. That’s as far out as the Open is booked. He says 2020 and 2021 are reserved for a links in England and St. Andrews — so that rules out Turnberry. A decision beyond that wouldn’t be expected for at least a few more years.
The most likely scenario is Royal St. George’s in 2020 and St. Andrews in 2021. The Old Course has been used every five years dating to 1995, but the reason to put the next one in 2021 is to celebrate the 150th playing of The Open.
While 20 male golfers have pulled out of the Olympics, Justin Rose of England is planning to soak up as much of the atmosphere as possible in Rio de Janeiro.
Rose intends to walk in the opening ceremony, stay a few days in the Olympic Village and catch some other events before he hits the course. He says he wants “to take it all in.”
Rose is especially pumped for the opening ceremony. He says that would “make it very real and that would kind of help inspire me in terms of the occasion and give me a kind of scale of what the Olympics is all about.”
The men’s golf competition will be held the second week of the games. Rose plans to move into a home near the course a few days before the opening round, “just so it’s more predictable travel time and I can stay on top of my own schedule just a little bit easier.”
Rose is part of a four-person golf team that Britain will be sending to the Olympics. The squad, which was formally unveiled Wednesday at Royal Troon, also includes Masters champion Danny Willett, with Charley Hull and Catriona Matthew on the women’s side.
On the final day of practice before the British Open, two more golfers pulled out of the Olympics but major champions Danny Willett and Justin Rose remain on board.
Francesco Molinari of Italy withdrew because of family reasons without giving specifics. He will be replaced by Matteo Manassero, who tied for third in the Scottish Open last weekend.
Angelo Que of the Philippines gave up his spot in Rio de Janeiro, as well, saying he was concerned about the Zika virus. Rodolfo Cazaubon of Mexico is next on the list of eligible players.
In all, 20 male golfers have withdrawn from the Olympics.
Britain, on the other hand, will have a strong contingent comprised of Rose, winner of the 2013 U.S. Open, and Willett, the reigning Masters champion.