After waiting 112 years to make a reappearance in the Olympics, could the game of golf be on life support going forward?
Between scheduling conflicts and the concern of the Zika virus, many of the top golfers in the world are opting out – the biggest Rory Mcllroy (Ireland), the game’s No. 4 player.
He’s not the only one.
Adam Scott, who sits No. 8 in the World Golf Rankings, will not play for Australia. Vijay Singh (Fiji), Graeme McDowell (Ireland), and Branden Grace (South Africa) won’t play either.
“I don’t like it, and I don’t think the sport should be allowed to continue in the Games under that scenario,” International Olympic Committee member Barry Maiser told Insiderthegamez.biz. “Once they’ve got in, they have got to deliver. Just getting in with your name, and then putting up some second or third rate players, is so far from the Olympic ideal or the expectation of the Olympic movement.”
Currently the game of golf has been reinstated by the IOC for 2016 and 2020. Without a solid turnout by the game’s best, a spot in future Olympics might be in jeopardy.
A 60-player field, the United States will have four golfers in the event. The eligibility rules can be found here, but are based off the World Golf Rankings. Jordan Spieth (No. 2), Dustin Johnson (No. 3), Bubba Watson (No. 6) and Rickie Fowler (No. 7) are in. If one of the following players was to opt-out, Patrick Reed (No. 13) would be the first alternate.
"I'm interested in checking out the trophy and I'm interested in keeping a very close eye on what's going on around the Olympics too, mainly off the course," Spieth told reporters earlier in June, including the Dallas Morning News. "And trying to figure out the safety concerns and figure out plans, but as of now I'm extremely excited for it."