IOC member: Get rid of Olympic golf if the best golfers won't play
IOC member Barry Meister states what many believe to be likely regarding the future of golf in the Olympics
The first year of Olympic golf has not gone well as 10 of the world's best players, including Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, have withdrawn from consideration citing concerns over the Zika virus, general lack of interest and scheduling conflicts.
These decisions have not pleased the IOC, which will make a call next year whether to keep golf past the 2020 Olympics. IOC member Barry Maister spoke on New Zealand radio and said golf shouldn't stay in the games if the top players won't commit.
"I think it is appalling," Maister told Newstalk ZB, as transcribed by Duncan Mackay.
"I don't like it, and I don't think the sport should be allowed to continue in the Games under that scenario. 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.
"The Olympics is about the best, and they pledged the best. Quite frankly, any sport that cannot deliver its best athletes, in my view, should not be there."
Maister's point would be understandable if the Olympics weren't fraught with issues, from the Zika scare to general unrest in Rio to, most recently, the WADA shutting down the lab in charge of Olympic drug tests. This seems less like an issue of Olympic golf not being able to attract top golfers -- although there are those that don't want to add it to their hectic late summer schedule -- as much as it's an issue of these Olympics.
The format leaves a bit to be desired -- a stroke play event seems like a waste of the Olympic opportunity to create teams and compete in match play -- but if this were being played in an area not dealing with the Zika virus and political unrest, I have to think more players would be willing to participate. Just don't hold your breath waiting for the IOC to understand that this could possibly be an issue that they caused and golf might not have a long run in the Olympics.
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