TORONTO – The decision to add golf back to the Olympic program was made primarily to promote the game on a global scale, but it remains a somewhat hesitant comeback as several of the best players have decided to stop participating in the Tokyo Games.
Golf returned to the Olympics at the Rio 2016 Games after a 112-year absence, but it was somewhat clouded as several high-profile players stayed away as they prioritized winning majors over attempting a medal.
Due to the prolonged absence of the Olympics game, it means that, unlike athletes in many other sports, golfers grew up dreaming of making the winning putt for one of the most important championships in golf instead of a medal. of gold.
Before the Rio Olympics, several of the best male golfers cited the Zika virus as their reason for not attending despite having played events at other potential spots. For their part, most of the best players competed in Rio.
Fast forward five years and not much has changed as the global COVID-19 pandemic has offered some players a built-in excuse not to add more miles to an already busy travel schedule during a key stretch of the season.
What doesn’t help is that some players haven’t been shy about saying that winning big championships is still the pinnacle of the sport and therefore more of a priority than the Olympics.
World number one Dustin Johnson, England’s Lee Westwood and Australian Adam Scott are among the high-profile names who have decided to skip the Tokyo Olympics, citing a condensed PGA Tour schedule or family engagements for their reasons.
“It’s right in the middle of a great stretch of golf for me,” Johnson said in March when he announced his decision to skip the Tokyo Olympics. “It’s a lot of traveling at a time when it’s important to feel like I’m focused on playing on the PGA Tour.”
July 29-August. 1 The men’s Olympic competition begins 11 days after the final round of the British Open, the last chance of the year for greater glory, and concludes two and a half weeks before the start of the lucrative end-of-season playoffs on the PGA Tour.
The women’s competition, which runs from August 4-7, will sit right between a pair of majors: it begins 10 days after the Amundi Evian Championship in France and ends 12 days before the Women’s Open in Scotland.
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