Golf is being played at the 2016 Summer Olympics for the first time since the 1904 Olympics, ending a 112-year absence of the sport. The last male gold medalist in golf was George Lyon of Canada when the games were held in St. Louis, Missouri.
The 2016 Summer Olympics, being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will house golf at the new Olympic Golf Course designed by Gil Hanse. Sixty men will be competing in a 72-hole individual stroke-play tournament. If a tie occurs for any of the top three positions, a three-hole playoff will decide the medal winners.
Qualification for the golf competition in Rio went as follows: no more than four players per country from the world's top-15 player rankings could qualify, and after the top 15, a maximum of two players per country can qualify. The host country, Brazil, is also guaranteed one player spot.
Initially seen as a chance for the top players in the world to showcase their talents and compete against each other on the world's largest sporting stage, many male golfers were reluctant to join the Olympic games. Some cited scheduling challenges, others were hesitant about the Zika virus, and some just did not see playing in the Olympics as important as winning a major.
The top four players in the world -- Jason Day (AUS), Dustin Johnson (USA), Jordan Spieth (USA) and Rory McIlroy (NIR) -- will not be competing, citing the Zika virus as a possible impediment for starting families. McIlroy, though, [felt differently about golf's inclusion in the Olympics.] (http://www.golfdigest.com/story/rory-mcilroy-doesnt-regret-olympics-wd-i-didnt-get-into-golf-to-get-other-people-into-the-game)
Other top players skipping out on the Olympics include Adam Scott (AUS), Branden Grace (RSA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) and Shane Lowry (NIR).
However, there are still several big names vying for a gold medal in golf at the Olympic games. The United States is the only country with four players competing, including Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar. Watson is the top-seeded player, but Henrik Stenson (SWE) is the betting favorite.
Others playing include Danny Willett and Justin Rose (GBR), Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP), Byeong Hun An (KOR) and Martin Kaymer (GER). Adilson da Silva will be the sole player representing Brazil.