Date: June 27, 2016
Author: Martin Blake

IOC heavyweight questions Olympic golf

Golf's place in the Olympic Games has been questioned by a senior International Olympic Committee member displeased with the key withdrawals from the men's tournament at Rio de Janeiro.

New Zealand IOC member Barry Maister said in an interview on NZ radio station Newstalk ZB that golf should not remain if the best players would not make themselves available.

He said the situation was "appalling''.

“I don’t like it, and I don’t think the sport should be allowed to continue in the Games under that scenario,'' said Maister. "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, 68, won a gold medal in field hockey at the 1976 Olympics.

So far there have been 10 official withdrawals from the men's tournament at Rio, where golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

They include Australia's Adam Scott and South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, as well as Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, although there are no high profile withdrawals from the women's side.

At this point, the world No. 1 Jason Day and No. 2 Jordan Spieth remain in the Olympics, but Day has expressed doubts because he is concerned about the Zika virus.