Fraser high on Olympic golf future

Marcus Fraser and Ian Baker-Finch
Team leader Ian Baker-Finch gives Marcus Fraser some tips on the Olympic Golf Course in Rio. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

So enamored with the buzz around Olympic golf, Corowa’s Marcus Fraser predicts that it could, in time, become golf’s “fifth major”.

Fraser, teammate Scott Hend and the Australian golf team staff spent the night being inspired by Australian Boomers who pushed the newest incarnation of the American “Dream Team” all the way in their basketball pool match.

And when the sun rises over Rio, Fraser will have the distinction of being the first Australian to swing a club in the Olympics.

Fraser admits the absence of many big names has made golf a target for criticism, but he’s certain it will be a far bigger deal in Tokyo and beyond.

“In time it will get legs and be one of the ones we want to win, like majors,” Fraser said after his final practice round at the Olympic Golf Course.

“When I was growing up, like a lot of the guys playing these days, we had the dream of going to majors.

“The guys that aren't here have their reasons and I fully respect why they're not, but at the same time I think it's great for golf that it's in the Olympics.”

Tennis slowly warmed to Olympic admission after 1988, and Fraser says a gold medal in golf will be more enticing and capture more attention in Tokyo in 2020.

“Golf is not a big sport in Brazil, but it's such a huge sport in Japan and I think it will be quite impressive,” he said.

Both Fraser and compatriot Scott Hend are excited about the smaller 60-player tournament held on the Gil Hanse-designed par-71 course.

With numerous bunkers and wasteland rough, Fraser says it should advantage the Aussie duo.

“It's very Melbourne-like with all the bunkering and a very Sandbelt feel to it and quite lengthy as well,” the 38-year-old said.

"It's pretty impressive, so it definitely suits my game for sure.”

Fraser, who won at Kuala Lumpur this year and leads the Asian Tour order of merit, has come off a week's break in New York after managing to make the cut at the US PGA Championship.

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