"I know TV companies are enthusiastic about it for obvious reasons," said Peter Dawson, president of the International Golf Federation.
So, it seems, is the host country. In October, about 60 miles from the Olympic venue, Japanese fans cheered louder for Woods than their native son, Hideki Matsuyama, at the inaugural Zozo championship, which won Woods wire-to-wire.
Yes, Woods is currently the strange man among Americans. But that is, as Dawson joked, "nothing that would not cure another Masters victory." Johnson – chose not to compete for reasons such as the fear of contracting the Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes. This year it is possible that an American player or two will be put aside by something else: money.
The men's competition in Tokyo takes place two weeks after the British Open and two weeks before the start of the three-event FedEx Cup playoffs, which offer a total wallet of $ 60 million, including a payout of $ 15 million to the final winner.
The first playoff event is outside of Boston, 14 time zones of Tokyo, so it is not inconceivable top player, giving majors priority over medals or play-off wealth over Olympic gold, that it might not be It is worth making the trip around the world to Japan at such an important moment in its season.
Can someone also stay at home because of the pressure from outside to move aside to make room for Woods?
"Maybe so," Dawson said, although he quickly added, "I am sure Tiger is not in the Games that way."