Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player concerned about stars skipping Rio Olympics (video)

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Jack Nicklaus says golfers who skip the Olympics are hurting the sport. Gary Player thinks golf could be kicked out of the Olympics if top players don’t show up.

In the last two weeks, major champions Vijay SinghAdam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen said they will not play the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years in Rio in August.

All cited scheduling issues during the busy summer PGA Tour stretch, among other reasons.

Nicklaus, an 18-time major champion who never had the chance to play in the Olympics, said he was aware of players pulling out of the Olympics but didn’t know specific names.

“That’s a shame for the game of golf; I think it’s really bad,” Nicklaus told Golf Channel. “We worked really hard to get golf back in the Olympics after 100 and some years. The game needs stimulation in countries where we don’t have golf. We haven’t got a lot of golf in China or India or Russia or Brazil, large countries that the Olympics would just be amazing for.”

The Olympic men’s golf tournament is Aug. 11-14. The PGA Championship ends July 31, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs start Aug. 25.

“Because it doesn’t work in their schedule for one week, to not help the game of golf, and that’s what they’re doing is hurting the game of golf,” Nicklaus said. “It’s not themselves; it’s the game of golf. I don’t know who has turned it down, but I hope that they’ll rethink what they’re doing, because it’s not about them, it’s about the game.”

Player, 80 and a nine-time major champion, will be at the Olympics as captain of the South African team of men and women. He met Jesse Owens at the Olympics 60 years ago.

“We’ve got to remember that a lot of people in golf across the world worked extremely hard to get golf back into the Olympics, and if the top players don’t play, we could get kicked out of the Olympics,” Player told Golf Channel.

The South African Oosthuizen pulling out means South Africa has almost no chance of sending three men’s golfers to Rio. It will almost surely be a two-man team of Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel.

“That’s very, very sad, because I would have given anything, as a young man, to have an opportunity to represent my country and possibly win a gold medal in the biggest sporting event in the world,” Player said. “It’s not for me to criticize people. It’s their decision.”

MORE: Oosthuizen joins Scott, Singh in skipping Olympics

Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final