Gary Player ‘bitterly disappointed’ with slew of Olympic golf withdrawals

Leave a comment

Gary Player won nine majors during his storied golf career. But the 80-year-old South African “would have given anything to have a gold medal,” because he sees the Olympics as “the biggest sporting event in the world.”

Player spoke with the Golf Channel on Wednesday ahead of this week’s British Open, and didn’t hold back when asked about his thoughts on so many pros pulling out of the Rio Olympics.

“I’m bitterly disappointed,” he said. “In America today, their plus-minus combined with car accidents and guns, 100,000 people killed a year, and you’re going to go and play in a golf tournament where Zika is the great word. I think there’s a greater chance of that happening to you in America than getting Zika. I was just in Zambia, where you have Malaria, and it didn’t concern me at all. I’m really amazed.”

Player will serve as the captain of the South African men’s golf team in Rio. It’s a team that won’t have the country’s three best players, as Branden Grace, Louis Oostuizen, and Charl Schwartzel all opted out of competing.

Instead, South Africa will be represented by world No. 67 Jaco Van Zyl and No. 92 Brandon Stone. And Van Zyl is putting more emphasis on the Olympics than he is on two golf majors. He’s skipping the British Open and PGA Championship to prepare for Rio.

“I spoke to Jaco on the phone the other day,” Player said. “I admired [his decision] very much indeed. And although our three best players have withdrawn, I’m going to be very positive about us doing well.”

Player also stated that he thinks Olympic golf should involve amateurs and not professionals. Golf will next appear in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but its future in the Games is unclear after that.

“I just hope that [the withdrawals don’t] hurt golf. I hope we stay in the Olympics,” Player said.

MORE: Rory McIlroy will probably watch Olympics, but maybe not golf

Mikaela Shiffrin returns with mantra, stuck to her helmet, to carry forever

Mikaela Shiffrin
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Look close at Mikaela Shiffrin as she steps into a race start gate for the first time in eight months on Oct. 17.

Shiffrin, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Cup overall champion, plans to wear a helmet with two special stickers on the back.

She’s donned the first decal for years — the initials ABFTTB, which stand for “Always Be Faster Than The Boys,” a personalized autograph motto from retired Olympic Alpine skier Heidi Voelker.

The new sticker reads, Be nice. Think first. Have fun.

Those lines came from Shiffrin’s father, Jeff — the mantra instilled in her and older brother Taylor, also a young ski racer at the time.

After Jeff died on Feb. 2, Shiffrin regularly remembered the question that Jeff posed years ago: “What are the golden rules?”

Be nice. Think first.

When the Shiffrin siblings were old enough, Jeff added the third rule.

“He felt like we could understand that having fun wasn’t just about going and doing whatever you want because it’s instantly gratifying,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports’ Alex Azzi in an On Her Turf interview. “Fun is doing something well and the satisfaction you get from sticking to something.”

She plans to race all season with the golden rules sticker on her helmet, right next to ABFTTB.

Shiffrin detailed more about her prep for a very different World Cup campaign, in conjunction with a new fund in honor of her late father, in this On Her Turf report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2020 Tour de France results

1 Comment

2020 Tour de France results for the yellow jersey, green jersey, white jersey and polka-dot jersey …

Overall (Yellow Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:05
2. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — +:59
3. Richie Porte (AUS) — +3:30
4. Mikel Landa (ESP) — +5:58
5. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — +6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (NED) — +7:48
8. Rigberto Uran (COL) — +8:02
9. Adam Yates (GBR) — +9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (ITA) — +14:03
13. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — +25:53
15. Sepp Kuss (USA) — +42:20
17. Nairo Quintana (COL) — +1:03:07
29. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) — +1:59:54
36. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) — +2:19:11
DNF. Egan Bernal (COL)

Sprinters (Green Jersey)
1. Sam Bennett (IRL) — 380 points
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) — 284
3. Matteo Trentin (ITA) — 260
4. Bryan Coquard (FRA) — 181
5. Wout van Aert (BEL) — 174

Climbers (Polka-Dot Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 82 points
2. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — 74
3. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — 67
4. Marc Hirschi (SUI) — 62
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — 51

Young Rider (White Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:13
2. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
3. Valentin Madouas (FRA) — +1:42:43
4. Dani Martinez (COL) — +1:55:12
5. Lennard Kamna (GER) — +2:15:39

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

TOUR DE FRANCE: TV, Stream Schedule | Stage By Stage | Favorites, Predictions