Golf-New Zealand's Lee opts out of Tokyo Olympics

FILE PHOTO: Jan 12, 2019; Honolulu, HI, USA; PGA golfer Danny Lee hits out of a green side bunker on the 13th hole during the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii golf tournament at Waialae Country Club. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

(Reuters) - New Zealand golfer Danny Lee has decided to skip the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics this year to focus on retaining his PGA Tour card for next season, Golf New Zealand said on Monday.

Lee, who finished 27th at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is currently 192nd in the PGA Tour rankings and needs to finish within the top 125 by the end of August to retain his playing rights for next season.

The South Korean-born 30-year-old has missed eight cuts in 16 events and collected only two top 25 finishes this season. He finished 21st at the Valspar Championship in Florida on Sunday.

"After careful thought and much deliberation, New Zealand's Danny Lee has made the tough decision to make himself unavailable for selection for the Tokyo Olympic Games," a Golf New Zealand statement said.

"While Danny was very much looking forward to once again representing New Zealand and contesting for a medal in Tokyo, he has made the hard decision to focus his attention on retaining his playing rights on the PGA Tour for the 2021/2022 season."

Lee's decision means Ryan Fox and Lydia Ko will be the only New Zealand golfers in Tokyo for the July 23-Aug. 8 Games.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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