Montgomerie fears for golf's Olympic future


Colin Montgomerie says golf may struggle to justify its readmission to the Olympics following a succession of high-profile withdrawals from the Games in Rio.

Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott are among the stars who have opted not to compete in Brazil next month, citing concerns over the Zika virus and scheduling issues.

Montgomerie, speaking ahead of the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart, highlighted the fact Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa is the only female golfer so far to pull out of the Olympics.

"It is a shame that a number of the top players have decided not to go," he said. 

"If there was as many ladies not going, you might have thought that was OK. One lady has pulled out. How many men? There you go.

"So, to me, it is disappointing. There is no question. First time back in the Olympics since 1904 and we don't show up. A bit disappointing, really."

Asked about the risk of contracting the mosquito-borne Zika virus - which has been linked to birth defects - and its influence on the no-shows, Montgomerie said: "I thought it was a disease that affected women more than it did men."

The Scot helped in 2009 to successfully lobby the International Olympic Committee to readmit golf to its roster of sports for the Summer Games for this year's event and the 2020 Olympics.

But the Ryder Cup-winning player and captain is concerned his hard work and that of others may be undone by a lack of commitment from the top players.

He said: "The IOC will have a good look at this and think: 'Hang on a minute, what's happened here?'

"To suddenly find 300 new hotel rooms, to have to build a golf course; and the money that had to be spent to buy the land to build the course to all the stuff that goes on, it was multimillions they had to find. 

"And then not show up? Of course if I was in charge, I'd have a second look at it. Of course you would."