No way golf will be excluded in 2020: LET chief

Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:31am EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

TROON, Scotland (Reuters) - Ladies European Tour (LET) chief executive Ivan Khodabakhsh has dismissed the idea that golf will be excluded from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after a British bookmaker offered odds of 10-1 on the prospect.

A host of big-name male withdrawals from next month's Games in Rio de Janeiro including the top four in the world, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, has caused a media frenzy at this week's British Open.

Ladbrokes reacted to the furor by opening a book on the possibility of golf, which is returning to the Olympics in August for the first time since 1904, being excluded in Japan.

"For Tokyo it is a confirmed sport 100 percent, golf will be there," Khodabakhsh told Reuters in an interview at Royal Troon.

"It is now more about how we position golf in the future beyond Tokyo.

"Right now the stage has gone to those who, for whatever reason, are saying they can't make it. Once the Games start though it is all going to be about those who are there competing for their country."

Day, Johnson and McIlroy pulled out because of the threat from the Zika outbreak in the Americas while Spieth opted not to go to Rio for more general health reasons.

The mosquito-borne virus can potentially cause severe birth defects in babies whose mothers are infected during pregnancy, including microcephaly, marked by a small head size that can lead to developmental problems.   Continued...

Tokyo 2020 Olympic games emblem is displayed at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo, Japan, June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai