Bunker-to-bunker ….. Inside Golf writers have their say.
By David Newbery
FOR me, the current format doesn’t cut it so it’s a no. Besides, golf at the Olympics doesn’t mean much to the world’s best players.
If the Olympic golf event was held in the same week as the Masters, Open Championship, US Open or US PGA hardly any players would turn up – save for those who don’t qualify for the majors.
When golfers returned to the Olympics in 2016 many of the biggest names gave it a wide berth.
Golf at the Olympics is preaching to the converted.
All golfers take an interest in most sports and will watch athletics, swimming, track cycling, boxing, beach volleyball and even water polo.
But non-golfers won’t switch from one of the above sports to watch golf. They’d rather watch the marathon where athletes pound the pavement for a couple of hours.
Rory McIlroy hit the nail on the head in 2016 when he said: “I’ll probably watch the Olympics but I’m not sure golf will be one of the events that I’ll watch.”
So, change the format. Four rounds of stroke play makes Olympic golf just like any other PGA Tour event. Golf was reintroduced to the Olympics to grow the game and I don’t think a 72-hole stroke event is the answer.
Perhaps mix it up like they did with the swimming teams when they introduced the mixed (two men and two women) 4x100m medley final. They did the same in the athletics and it was super exciting.
By Michael Court
NO way should golf be an Olympic sport.
Let’s face it, when you’ve got $35m or more in the bank, do you really need to be playing for nothing but the honour of a gold medal?
I watched the last night of the Olympics less than 24 hours ago and already I cannot even remember who won the gold medal in the men’s event a week or so ago.
So, I guess it doesn’t mean that much to me either.
Sure, I can recite all the major golf champions from the past 30-40 years with a bit of effort.
And while I don’t know the reason he was missing from Tokyo, I do know that Justin Rose did figure in the medals when the Olympics reintroduced golf in Rio five years ago.
Where was Rose this year? Obviously his year wasn’t planned around defending his title.
I don’t want to diminish the efforts of our medals winners because I was glued to the TV like everyone else and was in awe of our athletes and their super-human efforts for the two weeks of the Games.
And part of that “aura” is probably the fact that they train – and train – and train in relative anonymity – barely noticed, let along recognised by the general public for years before they take centre stage at the Olympics.
While the golfers are playing for upwards of $10m some weeks … and can bank my year’s salary by running 50th.
By Michael Davis
NO. There is absolutely no need for golf to be part of the Olympic Games.
For most sports, an Olympic gold medal is the pinnacle for a team or an individual athlete.
Golf already has its “gold medal” events in the shape of the four majors every year.
And when it comes to team events, it has the time-honoured Ryder and Presidents cups.
It is pretty clear observing the ferocity of the competition in both these events that players rate them very highly.
If we did a straw poll among the players asking whether they would prefer to play either of the two team events or be part of the Olympics, we suspect the numbers would come down heavily in favour of the Ryder and Presidents cups.
We’ll concede the players who take up the opportunity to be part of the Olympics make all the right noises and appear to thoroughly enjoy the experience.
But when boiled down, Olympic golf is just another four round stroke event. (Perhaps it should be matchplay and restricted to amateurs under-25 years of age).
But would the professionals who opt to play in the Olympics take victory in a “major” or being part of a winning Ryder or Presidents Cup team ahead of Olympic gold?
You bet they would.
By Larry Canning
TO be honest, I’ve done a complete 180 degree on this.
When it was announced golf was being reintroduced into the Games back in, I think it was 2008, it sparked me to write a piece on sports that shouldn’t be in the Olympics.
Ah yes, that old chestnut.
“If an Olympic gold medal isn’t the pinnacle of a sport, then it shouldn’t be in the Games.”
My brothers and sisters – I have seen the light and its emanating from the Olympic Caldron.
I’m now sold on golf at the Olympics.
And, for that matter, I’m also a huge fan of skateboarding and surfing.
Attract the kids by validating their sports at the highest level. And show us the terrific culture some of these games are built on.
After all, if we hadn’t introduced new sports we’d still be watching fully grown naked men running around a dirt track.
Wow, if the American male track runners are still famously fumbling to pass the baton on to the next runner, how would they have gone in the nude?
Bunker-to-Bunker says: We love our golf, but for the Olympics a new format is needed.
What do you think?
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