Paul McGinley has a quick answer for those who believe golf does not belong in the Olympics — let's stop putting up barriers.
While Louis Oosthuizen yesterday joined fellow major winner Adam Scott in confirming that he will give the Rio de Janeiro Olympics a miss due. citing family and schedule issues, McGinley has always seen the bigger picture.
When we spoke about the opposition of high profile golfers such as Scott to golf in the Games, he pulled out his phone to call up a piece he had written for a media outlet.
"No matter how successful a golfer may be and how many majors he may have won, the majority in the world’s population could not name golf’s four majors. But they know what a gold medal at the Olympics stands for," McGinley read.
"It is easy to dismiss golf as an Olympic sport and at the same time belittle the value of winning a gold medal compared to winning a major. To do so leaves one open to stand accused of being insular in a sport that is often seen this way. Are we happy with this stereotyping or do we want to be a part of breaking down and demystifying this great game of ours?"
Ireland's team leader in Rio went on to explain why it's important that golf is part of the Olympic movement.
"We are now being offered the opportunity to showcase golf at the biggest, most watched sporting occasion in the world and are somewhat reluctant to use this chance to further promote the business that many of us make a living from. Why? Why not embrace it?
"Let’s look at the big picture for a moment and broaden our horizons and views. It is not just about you. It is about representing your country. It is about all those emotions we all experience sitting around watching Ireland."
Oosthuizen's management company issued a statement on Thursday explaining that he had "regretfully withdrawn from the team to represent South Africa at this summer's Olympic Games in Brazil."
The 2010 Open Champion told his country's Olympic committee of his decision after long deliberations citing family and schedule issues.
"I have always represented South Africa with pride so didn't make my decision without a great deal of thought," said Oosthuizen.
"I would like to wish our golfers and all other athletes competing in Brazil all the very best for success," he added.
Scott has drawn criticism and reignited debate over golf's inclusion in the Olympics after announcing he would skip Rio because of his busy schedule.
"My decision has been taken as a result of an extremely busy playing schedule around the time of the Olympics and other commitments, both personal and professional," Scott said in a statement.
Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus were taken aback.
"I would say I don't care how tired you are, and I wouldn't even care where you place in the tournament, but you need to be there to represent your country," Miller said.
Speaking at a charity event in Ohio, Nicklaus said: "I think that's sad. I think it's sad for the Olympics and for the game of golf.
"I don't know Adam's circumstances, so I couldn't comment on what he's dealing with. Obviously, he felt like he couldn't play, and if he felt that way, I understand. But it's unfortunate."
According to AFP. "Australian golf great Jack Newton jumped to Scott's defence and told critics to lay off the 2013 US Masters champion."
"It’s a personal decision," Newton was reported as saying on Thursday. "He’s not letting the country down. He’s not letting the Olympics down."
Last week, another former major champion, Fiji's Vijay Singh, also announced he would skip the Olympics, citing concerns over the Zika virus.
The International Golf Federation (IGF), which also serves as the International Olympic Committee’s recognised International Federation for golf, felt compelled to issue a statement on Thursday following the announcements from Scott, Singh and Oosthuizen.
Peter Dawson, President of the IGF said: “The IGF understands the challenges players face in terms of scheduling this summer and it is regrettable to see a few leading players withdraw from this year's Games.
"The Olympics is the world's greatest celebration of sport and it is exciting and appropriate that golf features in its programme again. Real history will be made at this year's Olympic competitions and it is our belief that the unique experience of competing will live forever with athletes that take part."