Rio 2016: Spain's Garcia embracing medal quest


Sergio Garcia has played down the absence of golf's top names from the Olympic Games as he prepares to try and win a medal for Spain.

The world's top four - Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy - all withdrew from Rio 2016, citing scheduling issues and health concerns related to fears over the Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects.

Their collective absence was a major blow to the sport as it returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

Garcia, though, speaking courtesy of Omega, is among those to have fully embraced the re-inclusion. 

"I can't really speak for them," he said of the missing big names. 

"The only thing I can say is I'm so happy I'm here. It's an experience not many golfers have had. Being able to call myself an Olympian and having the chance of winning a medal would be unbelievable. 

"I think any sport that gets into the Olympic Games, it's good for it. I'm pretty sure golf being in the Olympics is going to be great for the game. I'm sure it's going to help it. We'll see how much and which way in the next years. As of now we have to enjoy it, enjoy the moment and make the most of it."

Garcia, a long and accurate driver of the ball whose putting has let him down at times during a career in which he is yet to win a major championship, is expecting to be challenged by his approach shots at Reserva de Marapendi.

"I heard the course is in really good shape," the 36-year-old said.

"It's fairly wide off the tee. The most important thing is the second shot to the greens and everything around the greens. That's what I heard.

"If it gets windy it will tricky. But if it's calm the scores will be good."