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Rio official: Golfers withdrawing because lack of prize money

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The Sports Xchange
American golfer Dustin Johnson walks onto the 8th green at the 145th Open Golf Championship in Troon, Scotland July 16, 2016. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
American golfer Dustin Johnson walks onto the 8th green at the 145th Open Golf Championship in Troon, Scotland July 16, 2016. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Carlos Nuzman, the head of the organizing committee for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, claims the reason the world's top four ranked golfers aren't participating is because there isn't a monetary reward.

"(They) tried to blame (the Zika virus), but the media have shown that they are not coming because there's no prize money," Nuzman told the Associated Press on Saturday.

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Top-ranked Jason Day of Australia, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland all previously announced they weren't going to Rio, citing various reasons -- among them, concerns about the Zika virus.

Day, Johnson, Spieth and McIlroy all played in the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland. Johnson has performed the best among them, shooting a 1-under-par 212 through three rounds and is tied for 13th place.

All four have won a major, but none have hoisted the Claret Jug.

Golf is returning to the Olympic schedule for the first time since 1904. Fifth-ranked Bubba Watson joins seventh-ranked Rickie Fowler, 13th-ranked Patrick Reed and 15th-ranked Matt Kuchar in representing the United States.

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