McIlroy relief with 'selfish' Olympics decision

With all the animosity and controversy that's been caused by golf's return to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904, Rose's approach to the biggest sporting showpiece on earth is a breath of fresh air to what should be an exciting time for golf.

Concern over the Zika virus has been chief among the reasons for players' absences, but other factors such as the intensity of golf's calendar and family matters have also arisen.

Khodabakhsh said all the tours and associations in golf were united in their support of the Olympics and would combine to show players in the future how important it is to grow their sport.

McIlroy told a press conference before this week's Open Championship that he got into the game to win trophies, not "grow the game".

Clearly making a point he added: "I've got FOUR major championships, and I'd love to add to that tally, just as those guys would love to add to the ONE or TWO majors that they have".

The Northern Irishman admitted on Tuesday that he is unlikely to watch his fellow golfers at the Games and will only focus on the events "that matter". "Obviously I've gotten to know a lot of athletes over the years, and whether it be coming to their houses and doing blood and urine, I think drug testing in golf is still quite far behind some of the other sports".

He said it was the toughest decision he had ever made, but he joined McIlroy in defending his right to act in what he perceived as his own best interests.

But he seems unconcerned by the criticism, saying: "I have no regrets about it. I'll probably watch the Olympics, but I'm not sure golf will be one of the events I watch".

Twenty male players, including the top four in the world rankings, have pulled out.

The buildup to this week's British Open has to some extent been overshadowed by the Olympic debacle. "This year I just had to try and weigh a risk that doesn't present itself every year". "It's the most reliable format, so I'm very comfortable with it". "Of course, if you're playing well you want to be noticed".

While the men's event in Rio will be decimated by no-shows, world number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand is to lead an nearly full-strength lineup of female players in Brazil.

Spieth labelled his decision to withdraw from the Olympics as the hardest of his life and feels it will "loom" over him throughout the Games.

And Rose isn't going to Rio to play four rounds of golf, (hopefully) take his place on the medal-winners' podium and fly home.

Spieth is the latest golfer to say he was not going to Rio, telling the IGF it was for "health reasons". That's another thing I want to do down there is actually view some of the Games.