Paris - IOC chief Thomas Bach on Wednesday said that the lack of golf stars at the Rio Olympics will be a key factor when deciding whether to keep the sport for Tokyo 2020.
The world's top four - Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy - are among about 20 golfers to have withdrawn from the Olympics, where golf is making its return after 112 years.
Many have cited fears about the Zika virus but the withdrawals have led to questions about whether golf will remain in the Olympics.
IOC president Bach said the presence of a sport's top stars would be "one of the main categories" considered in an evaluation after Rio.
"We have to respect the individual decisions even if they are going contrary to recommendations given by the World Health Organisation" on Zika, Bach told a small group of reporters when asked about the mass withdrawals.
"We see now in the discussion in the golf community, there are obviously very different reasons for not going to Rio, not related to Zika.
"And we are also following with interest the discussion in the golf community how they themselves are considering these decisions and what judgements they are making."
Bach said the Olympic tournament would be judged along with other sports.
"In one of the main categories of the evaluation is of course the question of the participation of the best players.
"So let us wait then for this evaluation and then of course we will also speak with the International Golf Federation once this is available," Bach said.