Florida - PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem says that golf will be in good shape
heading into this year's Rio Games where he predicts "a superb
Olympics", despite the recent withdrawals of several elite players.
Former world No 1s Adam Scott and Vijay Singh, and fellow major winners
Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, are among those who have already
announced that they will skip this summer's global sports showpiece in
Rio de Janeiro.
Those no-shows, for reasons ranging from schedule issues to concern over
the Zika virus, sparked fears that more players could follow suit but
Finchem felt there was generally "a real enthusiasm" for the Olympics in
"It's a combination of things, really," Finchem told an Olympics news
conference on Tuesday at the TPC Sawgrass ahead of this week's Players
Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida when asked about player
withdrawals from the Rio Games.
"Starts with a compacted season, affects the players in different ways,
the way that the (PGA Tour schedule) changes were for the season this
"Part of it is prioritisation, I would admit, although I think in
general there's a real enthusiasm, certainly for the concept of golf in
With the Olympic men's golf competition to be played from August 11-14,
the year's final major, the PGA Championship, has been brought forward
to late July from its traditional date in the second week of August.
As a result, the PGA Tour's busy June-July schedule has been compressed
more than usual and now includes three major championships in just seven
"In golf, and in most of the individual sports, you just got to accept
the fact that not everybody's going to play every week," said Finchem.
"Not everybody's even going to play in top events. Most of the top
events have lost players for strange reasons at one time or another, and
these aren't strange reasons, really. These are more like concerns.
"We have had a combination of things that have created some issues this
year, but we seem to be doing OK and I think we're going to have a
superb Olympics once we get down there."
Asked if he had any concern that additional withdrawals from Rio could
be damaging to golf's future inclusion on the Games schedule, Finchem
replied: "I think right now we're looking pretty good.
"Every four years it happens, and you want to take advantage of that. We
don't go around saying gloom and doom. We say, 'Look, let's take
advantage of the upside here if we possibly can.'
"At the same time, we respect a player's decision. It's a short-term thing, and we'll move on regardless of what the result is."
Golf was brought in for the Rio Games, along with rugby, with the
International Olympic Committee eager to tap into new markets and win
new viewers with the two sports. Golf will also feature at the 2020
Olympics in Tokyo.