How important is the McIlroy-Spieth rivalry to golf in 2016?

Lawrence Donegan spoke to Off the Ball about the rivalry and how important they rate golf in the Olympics

How important is the McIlroy-Spieth rivalry to golf in 2016?

Picture by: Brynn Anderson / AP/Press Association Images

In what is surely a precursor for the 2016 season, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are facing off this week for the first time this year at the Abu Dhabi Championship. 

The two players have been the two dominant players in recent years and have both won two majors in the past two years. 2014 was McIlroy's dominant year, while Spieth lit up the courses around the world last year. 

Golf writer and creator of bytheminsport.com Lawrence Donegan spoke top Off the Ball about the two players and how he sees 2016 panning out for the stars. "I have long held the view that if Spieth played his best golf and Rory played his best golf, Rory would win. I'm beginning to wonder about that, because the way Spieth keeps on ratcheting it up is almost Tiger-esque." 

Golf returns to the Olympics this year for the first time since 1904 and Donegan is unsure how seriously the World's best golfers will take the tournament. Donegan compared golf to how tennis is rated at the Olympics. "It's never going to reach and obtain the same status as Grand Slams and I think it will be the same with golf... In terms of a gold medal before a Claret Jug, that's just an absurd thing to say."