So far, 20 of the world’s top golfers have opted not to play on the controversial green during the Rio 2016 games this year.
Because of this staggering number, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach is currently evaluating what the sport’s future will be in the games.
While many players, including the top ranked golfers Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, have cited the adverse effects a possible Zika infection could have on their developing families, others have been quick to dismiss golf’s Olympic legitimacy.
While Rory McIlroy intially withdrew over Zika, he has since decried that golfers have different goals than other Olympians.
“I don’t feel like I’ve let the game down at all,’’ McIlroy said during Royal Troon’s latest Championship. “I didn’t get into golf to try and grow the game. I got into golf to win championships and win major championships…I didn’t get into golf to get other people into the game.”
McIlroy later said if he does watch the Olympics, it will not be for golf, but rather the “stuff that matters” like swimming and track and field
Golf was only recently reinstated as an Olympic sport after a 112 year absence from the Games and was set to make a triumphant return in Rio. Now, its place in the next Summer Olympics in Tokyo is doubtful.
“One of the main categories of the evaluation is, of course, the question of participation of the best players,” Bach said. “Let us wait then for this evaluation. Then, of course, we will also speak with the International Golf Federation once this is available.
For more, read Paste’s recent feature on the sport’s buried Olympic history.