Camilo Villegas torn between Olympics, PGA Tour card

Camilo Villegas
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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Camilo Villegas is torn between trying to keep his PGA Tour card and playing for Colombia in the Olympics.

Villegas said in a statement Wednesday that whatever decision he makes will also consider the Zika virus because he and his wife are trying to start a family. The first decision was whether going to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics could cost him full privileges on the PGA Tour next season.

“There are circumstances which are out of our control,” Villegas said. “And right now, I face two situations that force me to consider the facts that could prevent me from being in the games, even though I want to play.

“God willing, I can resolve both situations quickly and I can go to the games with the Colombia flag.”

Villegas is No. 141 in the FedEx Cup standings with five tournaments left to get into the top 125 and qualify for the playoffs. Only the top 125 have full tour status for the following season.

When the Colombian first talked about his dilemma last week at the Barracuda Championship, he was near the top of the leaderboard after the first round and hopeful a good week would move him up in the FedEx Cup standings. He ended the week in a tie for 44th.

His statement came one day after Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe said he would pass up his spot in the Olympics because he first needs to make sure he has a full job for next season. De Jonge is at No. 160.

Twelve eligible players already have withdrawn from the Olympics, which has golf on the program for the first time since 1904. That list includes world No. 1 Jason Day and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, both citing concerns over the Zika virus. Day plans to have more children and McIlroy wants to start a family soon.

While the Zika virus and concerns over security and crime get most of the attention, de Jonge and potentially Villegas have exposed another side to the problem with golf returning to the Olympics. Because the PGA Tour chose to keep its schedule going during the games, some players lower in the standings have to choose between playing for their country and playing for their jobs.

Villegas has won four times on the PGA Tour, most recently at the Wyndham Championship two years ago. His two-year exemption for that victory expires this year.

“I’ve always wanted to represent my country and the highest level, and I’ve always done so with love,” Villegas said. “I always have our flag on my golf bag and do so with pride — the same pride I feel for being Colombian.”

Villegas played in the 2009 Presidents Cup in San Francisco, and he twice has represented Colombia in the World Cup, in 2006 and 2011.

This story has been corrected to show that Villegas is still undecided about whether to go to Rio, not that he has decided not to go.

MORE: First elite women’s golfer withdraws from Olympics, cites Zika

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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