PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem not worried by Olympic absentees

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem not worried by Olympic absentees

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem does not believe that five players missing the return of golf to the Olympic program will harm it at future Games.

Rio marks the first time the sport is in the Olympics since 1904 and the International Olympic Committee will vote in 2017 on whether golf will remain beyond the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Adam Scott and Marc Leishman of Australia, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Vijay Singh of Fiji have already confirmed they will not play in Brazil.

Leishman cited concerns over the zika virus for his reasons not to compete, while the other four said a busy summer schedule will prevent them from playing.

But Finchem is unconcerned by their reluctance and told a press conference ahead of The Players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida: "If you look at the broader things that the IOC looks at from a sport ... the reason they like golf is it's growing around the globe, it's bringing young people to the game.

"It's one of the few sports that's actively very popular on every continent - just to different levels, but reasonably popular on every continent. So it's truly a global sport, and it's a sport that works quite well with sponsorship, and they're in that business.

"I don't think any of those variables are going to change after this year. I think we'll be in good shape."

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan revealed there were no players from his tour that had decided to skip the Olympics because of the zika virus, although some concerns had been raised.

Whan said: "I would say five or six players have asked me questions about zika but I've yet to have a player say to me they're not planning to go because of zika. I don't know any player who's even said I'm on the fence.

"They want to learn about it and are excited about it, but again, that could change. I've got plenty of players at the age where this would be concerning, but I haven't heard any player say they're interested in stepping out, have you?"

More in this Section

Harry Gregg mourners hear how he ‘wanted to be remembered as a footballer’Harry Gregg mourners hear how he ‘wanted to be remembered as a footballer’

Anthony Daly: Limerick would relish sowing doubt in Cork mindsAnthony Daly: Limerick would relish sowing doubt in Cork minds

Sexton admires the Farrells' ability to set aside father-son relationshipSexton admires the Farrells' ability to set aside father-son relationship

Devin Toner's reintegration now total after World Cup blowDevin Toner's reintegration now total after World Cup blow


Lifestyle

Sales of artisan sourdough bread are on the rise. It's all very well if you're happy to pay for a chewy substantial loaf but does it have any real health benefits? Áilín Quinlan talks to the expertsFlour power: The rise and rise of sourdough bread

More From The Irish Examiner