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Camilo Villegas pulls out of Rio to protect Tour Card

By The Sports Xchange
Camilo Villegas pulls out of Rio to protect Tour Card
Camilo Villegas of Colombia. UPI/Nell Redmond . | License Photo

Colombia's Camilo Villegas has withdrawn from the 2016 Olympics as he attempts to keep his PGA Tour card for the 2016-17 season.

Villegas and his wife are attempting to start a family, but he cited job security rather than the Zika virus in making his announcement Monday. Villegas is currently ranked No. 146 in the FedEx Cup standings, with only the top 125 advancing to the season-ending playoffs and securing full Tour status for next season. Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge, who is ranked No. 155 in the FedEx Cup, also cited his Tour status in withdrawing, bringing the total number of male golfers who have chosen not to compete in Rio de Janeiro next month to 21.

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There are only four tournaments remaining before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

"I'm sad to say that I have decided to withdraw from the Olympic Games. This is an incredibly difficult decision for me, but ultimately I have to do what's best for my career," Villegas said via Twitter. "Right now, I have not secured my PGA Tour card for next season and I have several opportunities to improve my FedEx Cup standing, one of which overlaps with the Olympics. I have waited until the last minute to withdraw as I have been working hard to secure my playing privileges so I can continue to represent Colombia on the PGA Tour."

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The John Deere Classic in Silvis, Il. is the same week as the Olympic competition. Defending champion Jordan Spieth, who will not compete in Rio, has said he will not defend his title after withdrawing from the Olympics.

Colombia will not have a male golfer competing in Rio next month, with Portugal's Jose-Felipe Lima set to replace Villegas.

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The top four players in the world have all withdrawn from the Olympics, with Jason Day, Justin Johnson, Spieth and Rory McIlroy all citing Zika concerns in opting not to travel to Rio.

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