Players have already started pulling out of the Olympics – how many will follow suit?


We’re excited about Olympic golf. Sure, we’d rather it was in a more interesting format than the 72-hole strokeplay we see almost every single week, but we’d rather have that than nothing. 

And some of the world’s best players feel exactly the same way. 

World number two Jordan Spieth says, “Winning a gold medal has got to be up there now, in my mind, with winning a major championship.

“More than anything, it would be nice bragging rights, if I’ve got a gold medal and somebody that I get to see week-to-week on the PGA Tour has got a silver or bronze. 

“I think this year we’re going to approach it as a fifth major and we’re going to prepare like it is. I’m going to go down there and try and take care of business.”

World number four Bubba Watson is even more excited than Spieth when it comes to Olympic golf. 

“I would say it [a gold medal] would be a little bit bigger than a green jacket,” says the two-time Masters champion. “It’s more rare. The game of golf hasn’t seen it in years. And I get to keep that gold medal for life. I don’t have to give it back after a year.”

But not every top player shares their excitement. 

World number seven Adam Scott has been very outspoken in his belief that golf does not belong in the Olympics, saying, “an Olympic medal is nothing I have ever dreamed of and it really doesn’t have any significance for golf.”

Scott hasn’t actually ruled himself out yet, instead saying he’ll play if it fits in with his schedule. But other players have gone one step further, and already ruled themselves out. 

Singh's announcement is a blow for Fiji

“It wasn’t that difficult [a decision],” says Vijay Singh, who would have been a shoo-in to represent Fiji. “I feel bad, I wanted to play and finally decided against it. It’s in the middle of the Tour over here and I’m trying to figure out my game.”

Singh has struggled for form in recent years, slipping to 215th in the world and without a win since 2008.

“The timing of it, you know I have to focus over here [on the PGA Tour]. I would like to play the Olympics, but the Zika virus, you know, and all that crap.”

Athletes from a host of sports and nations have expressed their concerns about the Zika virus, in many cases stating their unwillingness to travel to Brazil unless the situation improves. 

Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez is also believed to have declared to Olympic officials that he is not interested in appearing in Rio. With Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello miles ahead of him in the world rankings, Jimenez would have been unlikely to be called upon anyway.

We hope that this isn’t the start of a procession of players ruling themselves out of the Olympics. Tennis stars have shown that the opportunity to represent your country with Olympic gold on the line can be every bit as special as competing in your sport’s grand slam events. Let’s hope the golfers follow their lead…

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