Golf in good shape for Rio despite no-shows: Finchem

Tue May 10, 2016 6:05pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - 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 number ones 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 professional golf.

"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 year.

"Part of it is prioritization, I would admit, although I think in general there's a real enthusiasm, certainly for the concept of golf in the Olympics."

With the Olympic men's golf competition to be played from Aug. 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.

COMPRESSED SCHEDULE   Continued...

 
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem attends a news conference during the 2015 Presidents Cup golf tournament in Incheon, South Korea, October 10, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji