Olympic chiefs will look at the number of top golfers not playing at Rio this summer when deciding if the sport should be at future Games. The world’s top four are among more than 20 to have withdrawn using the excuse of the Zika virus, which has not resulted in any high profile withdrawals in any other spot.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said this would be considered when the line-up for Tokyo 2020 is decided next year.

“One of the main categories is the question of participation by the best players,” he said.

Critics say golf should not keep its Olympic place because of the lack of support shown by leading players. Squash was one of the sports that lost out to golf in the bidding for an Olympic place, and English player Laura Massaro this week said the lack of appreciation for the Olympics by some golfers was “unacceptable”.

Golf is returning to the Olympics this summer after a 112-year absence, following a successful bid that included leading golf personalities helping to make the sport’s case.

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