Jun 24, 2016

    Better if more stars play in Rio: Woods


    TIGER Woods predicted on Wednesday that golf's return to the Olympics will be a hit even without Rory McIlroy and other top stars and lamented the messy penalty issue at the US Open.

    Speaking on the eve of his charity foundation's US PGA event at Congressional Country Club, the 14-time major champion, whose recovery from back surgery has kept him off the tour for nearly 11 months, weighed in on the sport's latest issues.

    Just hours earlier, world No. 4 McIlroy said he would not compete at the Rio Olympics, when golf returns after a 112-year absence, because of health concerns over the Zika virus. It has been linked to birth defects and severe illness.

    McIlroy joined an absentee list for Brazil that includes world No. 8 Adam Scott of Australia, South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, Fiji's Vijay Singh and Aussie Marc Leishman. In addition, top-ranked Jason Day, No. 2 Jordan Spieth and sixth-ranked Rickie Fowler have said they are still looking at what conditions will be like in Rio.

    "It will be a spectacular event just because it's the Olympics," Woods said.

    "It would better if we had a more top-heavy field."

    Olympic teams will be set based on world rankings two weeks from Monday, with only 20 of the world's top 50 set to compete.

    Woods watched on TV as Dustin Johnson won the US Open on Sunday despite being told on the 12th tee he might be assessed a penalty for a ball movement issue on the fifth green.

    "It was frustrating to watch how it was handled," he said. "If you have a rules official there, I thought it was binding, his decision.

    "I just didn't understand how they can say that

    we're going to take you in,

    we may or may not assess you a penalty, you still

    have six holes to go.

    "I just don't see how

    that was appropriate."