Benoni - South Africa’s Jaco van Zyl has
taken the unprecedented decision to withdraw from the Open Championship at
Royal Troon next week and the US PGA Championship at Baltusrol at the end of
July to recharge his batteries.
Speaking from his home in Benoni, the world number 65
said he would be spending the next six at home, working on his game in
preparation for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.
“I was really starting to feel the effects of a very
packed schedule at the French Open last week,” Van Zyl explained.
“I have been at it almost non-stop since I returned to
golf last January. I’ve had a jam-packed season this year, including a lot of
travelling between continents, and then coming home to the added stress of
building a house. This was definitely wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but
something had to give and I decided to forego the Majors in July in favour of
“I expect that there will be a camp that will criticize
me for withdrawing from the Majors, but I feel very passionate about golf’s
debut at the Olympics. Rory (McIlroy) said in a recent press conference that we
play four “Olympics” a year because Major titles are what we play for, but I
“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 honour I don’t take for granted. 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.
“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 honour and I owe it to SASCOC, 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.”