By Steve Keating
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - After 112 years golf made a quiet and subdued return to the Olympics on Thursday with Brazil's Adilson Da Silva hitting the first shot in front of a handful of spectators.
Under overcast skies and in calm conditions ideal for scoring, Da Silva was welcomed to the first tee by a smattering of applause and the whirl from hundreds of cameras as media and officials greatly outnumbered fans sprinkled through a small nearly empty stand.
Da Silva was followed by Canada's Graham DeLaet, whose countryman George Lyon won the last Olympic golf tournament in 1904, with South Korean An Byeong-hun completing the threesome.
The tournament lost much of its prestige after the world's four top-ranked players, Australian Jason Day, Americans Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, opted not to take part, citing concerns over the Zika virus.
Four rounds over four days on the newly-constructed course on the Marapendi Nature Reserve will decide the medals with 60 players in the men's competition and the same number in the women's event which will follow next week.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)