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Jason Day ‘definitely’ wants to play 2020 Olympics

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Australian golfer Jason Day, who skipped the Rio Olympics while ranked No. 1 in the world, said he “definitely wants to” play at the 2020 Tokyo Games, should he qualify.

Day, 30, withdrew one month before the Rio Olympics, citing Zika virus concerns.

The top four players in the world at the time skipped the Rio Games — Day, Dustin JohnsonJordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

“The biggest thing, it’s really unfortunate because I didn’t want it to come off the way it did,” Day said Wednesday. “It was just difficult because I know that if you’re in a certain sport sometimes you only get these opportunities once, and I’m in a sport where I can stick around for a very long time. If I’m good enough, I can be in multiple Olympic teams.”

Day struggled last season, going winless and falling to No. 12 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

If Olympic golf qualifying remains the same for 2020, Day must either stay ranked in the top 15 or be one of the top two ranked Aussies come 2020 to assure himself a spot on the team.

Marc Leishman is No. 13, followed by Adam Scott at No. 30. Both of them also skipped Rio.

“I want to represent Australia very much so,” Day said. “Japan’s one of my favorite countries to ever visit, so if I have the opportunity to get on the team, I’m getting my plane ticket straight away.

“I’m looking forward to playing.”

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Lexi Thompson shows off Olympic rings tattoo

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When Lexi Thompson wants to be reminded of the Olympics, she can just look at her wrist.

The golfer had the Olympic rings tattooed just underneath the palm of her hand, according to her Instagram.

“Something I’ve wanted to get ever since I went to the Olympics, can’t be more honored that I was able to represent the USA in Brazil,” was posted on her account. “So much meaning behind this tattoo and it will always remind me of all my hard work. I will wear these rings with pride 🇺🇸 thank you”

Thompson, ranked No. 3 in the world, tied for 19th in Rio at the first Olympic women’s golf tournament since 1900, seven strokes behind the bronze medalist.

She followed another American golfer, Rickie Fowler, in getting the Olympic rings tattoo. Fowler received his less than a month after the Games.

Qualifying for the 2020 Olympic golf tournaments is expected to begin in 2018.

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Michael Phelps follows protege Jordan Spieth at PGA Championship

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — If Jordan Spieth needs some help with the mental aspect of his game during this pressure-packed week of golf, he knows exactly where to turn.

Michael Phelps is right there for him.

Phelps, a 23-time Olympic gold medalist who knows a thing or two about performing at his best under crushing pressure, spent Thursday following Spieth around Quail Hollow during the first round of the PGA Championship. The 24-year-old Spieth is looking to become the youngest player to win golf’s career Grand Slam.

Spieth was thrilled to have Phelps inside the ropes with him.

“He’s become a good friend and even a mentor,” Spieth said. “That’s pretty awesome to have a mentor like that.”

Phelps and his wife Nicole Johnson followed Spieth, U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and Masters champion Sergio Garcia for most of the round, mostly staying out of the way but always visible.

It’s not the first time Phelps has shadowed Spieth around the course.

Phelps, an avid golfer, struck up a friendship with Spieth last year in Phoenix through their mutual sponsor, Under Armour. They’ve hung out together in Cabo San Lucas, where they had a photo taken with former NBA great Michael Jordan, golfer Fred Couples and NFL players Russell Wilson and Dwight Freeney.

Phelps has also tweeted well wishes to Spieth after his victories.

“We have had dinner and talked through a lot of things,” Spieth said.

Spieth said the specifics of those conversations are private, but said the conversations focused around “a lot of mental approach and preparation and stuff.”

Phelps did not speak to reporters on Thursday.

Spieth said at a post-round press conference at the British Open that he felt like he could call Phelps any time for advice — and that he’d be doing himself a disservice if he didn’t, given Phelps’ past success in swimming.

He might need some of Phelps’ advice on the mental part of the game if his putting doesn’t improve on Friday.

Normally one of the game’s best on the greens, Spieth said he “can’t putt any worse” than he did on Thursday. Still, he avoided big mistakes and rallied with birdies on two of the final three holes to shoot a 1-over 72, leaving him five shots behind early leader Thorbjorn Olesen.

Phelps, who was recently seen racing simulated sharks on the Discovery Channel, joked around with Spieth’s caddie Michael Greller on the first hole. Spieth said it helped ease the tension.

“He kept it light,” Spieth said.

Spieth said he was delighted when Phelps texted and told him he would be in Charlotte for the PGA Championship because of a sponsorship commitment.

Phelps isn’t the only celebrity who has been in town for the city’s first major championship.

Singer Justin Bieber attended the practice rounds earlier in the week, while Darius Rucker performed in the area on Wednesday night and was joined on stage by 1991 PGA champion John Daly. Roy Williams, the coach of the defending national champion North Carolina men’s basketball team, was also seen at the first round on Thursday.

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