Winners at the 2016 Olympic golf competitions will get more than a gold medal. It was announced on Monday evening that the top-ranked man and woman at the Olympics in August will also score exemptions to all of the 2017 majors.
The news could help to encourage the game’s stars to make the trek to Rio de Janeiro. The tepid response to the sport’s return to the Olympics after many decades has largely been confined to men’s golf; players on the PGA Tour tend to see it as a tacked-on event that can’t touch the majors in prestige and importance, not to mention prize money.
For the most part, female professional golfers are eager to play on the huge, global stage that the Olympics offers. Still, when organizers invited players to test out the Brazilian course in March, not one of the best golfers in the world showed up.