Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa has become the latest elite player to opt out of competing in the Olympic golf tournament at Rio 2016.
No reason has been given for world number 20 Schwartzel’s decision, which was announced by South Africa’s team captain Gary Player.
It follows last week’s withdrawal of compatriot Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open winner, who cited family problems and scheduling concerns as his reason.
"I am sad and disappointed that several top players have withdrawn from the Olympic Games in Rio," said Player, the 80-year-old nine-time major champion.
"I was sorry to hear that Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have withdrawn their names from consideration.
"I would have given anything to play in the Olympics.
"South Africa had a great team, but now obviously, it will not be as good."
Schwartzel and Oosthuizen’s choice not to play in Rio de Janeiro comes after world number seven Adam Scott of Australia, winner of The Masters at Augusta National in 2013, confirmed he would not participate in the tournament, scheduled to run from August 11 to 14.
Scott, one of the strongest critics of golf at the Olympics, claimed in November he was considering skipping Rio 2016 in favour of "time off" and last week definitively ruled himself out of representing his country at the Games.
He was critical of squeezing an Olympic tournament into golf's already packed schedule, and said the Rio 2016 action would be akin to an "exhibition event" and claimed he had never aspired to win an Olympic medal.
Fijian Vijay Singh, a winner of three majors, has also decided not to compete, partly because of where the event falls in the schedule and because of fears over the Zika virus.
Organisers attempted to increase the relevance of the Olympic competition earlier this month by granting the men's and women's gold medallists exemptions to all four major tournaments.
Though most of the top names already earn exemptions to the majors, through ranking points and by being a past winner, the development shows those behind the respective events have fully backed golf being an Olympic sport, but the opinions among the players remains divided.
Golf is returning to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.