Top male golfers are letting the sport down, says women's chief

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Golf's leading male stars have "let down the rest of the sport very badly" with their withdrawal from the Olympics, according to Ladies European Tour chief executive Ivan Khodabakhsh.

Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy - the world's top four players - have all pulled out of the Rio Games citing concerns over the Zika virus.

On Tuesday, McIlroy hinted at an underlying apathy towards golf's place in the Games when when he hit out at a suggestion he had a duty to help grow the game.

And Khodabakhsh has stressed his disappointment at how players in the men's game have conducted themselves.

"The top male golfers have let down the rest of the sport very badly," Khodabakhsh is quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

"The opportunity to do something for the broader good of the game is in their hands and they seem to be taking a very myopic approach.

"Brazil is a country of 200 million people in which fewer than 20,000 are registered golfers. The impact of the Olympics on those type of numbers across the world is part of the reason that golf is a success as an Olympic sport this summer."

In contrast, the women's golf event is set to be contested by the top players in the sport.

"British golf is represented by great champions Charley Hull and Catriona Matthew but across the world, 60 women golfers from 34 countries will tee off in Rio," Khodabakhsh added.

"This will send a powerful message to sports fans and governments of all types that women's golf is a genuine world-class sport."