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Rose raring to represent Britain in Rio

Jul 29, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Justin Rose tees off on the 15th hole during the second round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Bal ...

Jul 29, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Justin Rose tees off on the 15th hole during the second round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC - Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 29, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Justin Rose tees off on the 15th hole during the second round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC - Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

By Alan Baldwin

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Britain's Justin Rose was never in any danger of adding his name to the long list of top male golfers backing out of the Rio Olympics.

British team chief Mark England told reporters on Monday that the former U.S. Open winner was "absolutely chomping at the bit" to be part of golf's return to the Olympics after a 112- year absence.

"I think our golfers have been absolutely exemplary in their support (of the Olympics)," he said.

"He is really excited about being part of it."

England said world number 12 Rose, who will have Masters champion Danny Willett as a team mate, also intended to take part in the Rio opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium on Friday.

Willett and Rose should be among the medal contenders in the Aug. 11-14 tournament which has been overshadowed by a string of high-profile pullouts.

The world's top four golfers, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, all cited health concerns due to the mosquito-born Zika virus, although other factors have also played a part, as reasons for staying away.

Rio Games chief Carlos Nuzman said last month that top players had "tried to blame Zika, but the media have shown that they are not coming because there's no prize money."

Sweden's British Open champion Henrik Stenson, the world number five, and American Bubba Watson, sixth, are the highest-ranked golfers in the Olympics field of 60 players.

"Justin...is bringing members of his family and we've got him tickets to the diving and gymnastics as you'd expect and after that he'll be concentrating on his preparations. He'll be living quite close to the course," said England.

Willett, who told reporters on Sunday that he expected to arrive in Rio at the weekend, will be staying in the village.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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