11 Aug 2016

Olympics ranks among the majors - Lee

7:36 pm on 11 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - New Zealand golfer Danny Lee has shut down any criticism that the Olympics isn't a showpiece event for golf on the eve of the tournament.

Danny Lee during the 2nd round of the Masters, 2016.

Danny Lee is excited and honoured to be playing at the Olympics, he says. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Golf's 112-year hiatus from the Olympics will end tonight when the men tee it up in Rio, although the build-up hasn't come without controversy.

Six of the world's top 10 golfers have pulled out, many citing Zika as the concern, although some fellow professionals have said they believed their peers simply didn't want to play.

Lee, who will be joined by fellow New Zealander Ryan Fox in the men's field, said the Olympics ranked among playing in the majors for him.

"If you play well and happen to win a gold medal, it can change your life.

"All I know is I can put a medal for New Zealand and I'm just very honoured that I'm here as an athlete, as an Olympian, that itself means everything to me," Lee said.

When it came to how he thought he would play at the brand new Rio course, Lee said it would depend on what the wind was doing.

"If the wind starts to pick up this can be a very, very, very tough course but without the wind I see a lot of birdies out there so I can't really tell what score [I'll shoot] - it really depends on the wind."

Lee is in the second group, which is set to tee off just after 10.30pm.

But fellow New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox appeared to be writing off his chances of winning an Olympic medal before the tournament had even begun.

Fox is ranked 46th in the depleted field after a number of the world's best pulled out, but the 28-year-old still doesn't rate his chances at claiming a medal

He said he just wanted to enjoy the experience.

"It'd be great to do well, but I'm not trying to put any pressure on myself in that regard. Hopefully, if I play well, I know I can compete with the top guys, and that's the aim this week, really."