Rio 2016: Withdrawals 'won't help golf's Olympic future'

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson said he would 'do everything we can' to keep golf in the Olympics

The absence of top players from the Olympics "isn't going to help" golf's case for staying at future Games, the president of the International Golf Federation has said.

Peter Dawson said he was also surprised to hear Rory McIlroy say he "probably won't watch the golf" from Rio on TV.

"Rory is entitled to his opinion but I found it disappointing," he said.

McIlroy is one of a string of players who have pulled out of the Rio Games, citing concerns over the Zika virus.

The world's top four - Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Northern Ireland's McIlroy - will all be missing after raising fears over the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to brain defects in newborn babies.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has said the withdrawals will be one of the factors taken into account when the roster of sports for the 2020 Games is confirmed next year.

The Rio Games will see golf return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.

"We have a great competition, the players are going to have a wonderful experience and the withdrawals are restricted to players from only four countries," Dawson said.

"I am very confident golf has a place in the Olympic programme and we will do everything we can to keep it there."

The Olympics take place from 5 to 21 August, with the men's golf tournament running from 11 to 14 August.

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