Date: August 30, 2016
Author: Robert Grant

Olympics may be a fifth major says Fraser

Victorian Marcus Fraser believes the Olympics can become golf's fifth major, despite the event in Rio being snubbed by the world's best players.

He said the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games would provide the game with a huge boost which would attract the elite players to the golf-mad country.

"In time it will get legs and be one of the ones we want to win, like majors," Fraser said.

"When I was growing up, like a lot of the guys playing these days, we had the dream of going to majors. The guys that aren't (in Rio) have their reasons and I fully respect why they're not, but at the same time I think it's great for golf that it's in the Olympics.

"Golf is not a big sport in Brazil but it's such a huge sport in Japan and I think it will be quite impressive," he said.

Meanwhile, Australian team captain Ian Baker-Finch proclaimed the Rio Olympic golf experiment "a very, very positive experience" – with less than a handful of the much-hyped mosquitos in sight.

Englishman Justin Rose won the gold medal after a tense shoot-out with Swede Henrik Stenson, while American Matt Kuchar took home bronze.

Baker-Finch said the players who did travel to Rio were enthusiastic about the experience as the game made a successful return to Olympic competition after a 112-year absence.

"All in all, a very, very positive experience," Baker-Finch said.

"I thought a lot of negativity leading in just wasn't warranted."

But, like Fraser, he is convinced the world's leading players will not be turning their backs on the next Games, in Tokyo in 2020, as long as golf remains in the Olympics – a decision which will be made next year.

Fraser and Hend inherited their spots in the Australian team after Adam Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman made themselves unavailable for selection.

Despite that, Fraser said it had been "proudest" moment of his career and believes the game's stars will be clawing for places in the Tokyo team.

The irony, for all the preceding negative publicity is, according to Baker-Finch, that more Swedish fans watched Stenson's battle for a gold medal than saw him win last month's British Open.

"It's good that golf is seen as an Olympic sport and that transcends our little niche sport – it really is a specialist sport," he said.