By Duncan @ DEVEL Golf
The Olympic golf tournament in Rio tees off this week to widespread indifference. The Zika virus cited as the reason why golfers such as Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth opted out.
An event lacking most of the world's top ten is undoubtedly a slap in the face for the International Olympic Committee who elected to bring back golf for the first time in 112 years. Rory McIlroy saying he probably wouldn't even watch it was a further insult to the already devalued tournament - or, depending on your viewpoint, a realistic appraisal.
The idea of playing in Rio on reclaimed swamp land probably wouldn’t fill me with much excitement either if I was a pro used to playing at some of the most picturesque locations around the globe. However, it’s arguable that the Olympics might actually benefit one group of golfers - those knocking on the door of winning a major.
Like golf, tennis was re-admitted to the Olympics in recent years and suffered much of the same negativity, with one question in particular being posed: “How does the Olympics fit in with a sport that already has four Grand Slams?”
Golf and tennis both have four major championships and, as with tennis players, you will find few golfers who would prefer to win the Olympics over a major.
However, an often overlooked fact is that Olympic success in 2012 for Andy Murray provided a springboard for him to win his first Grand Slam later that year. He has since gone on to win three, including this year's Wimbledon.
Yes, it can be argued that Murray would have won a Grand Slam eventually. And yes, it could be said that the Players Championship already provides a stepping stone for golfers to win a major.
However, wouldn’t it be great if someone like Sergio Garcia (a winner of the Players already) won in Rio and used the confidence to win his first major next year?
The enthusiasm shown by Justin Rose and Danny Willett on social media in recent days has been great to see and I wonder whether some players are now regretting the decision not to play. However, the reduced field gives other players a chance to win Olympic gold and use
The Devel's Advocate is our resident golf blogger. With long experience of covering golf there aren't many issues he doesn't have an opinion on!