Our regular blogger Simon Caney tells us why golf should not be in the Olympics... and what it should be in!
'It has sand bunkers'
I love golf (obviously) and I love the Olympics. But golf at the Olympics? Meh.
As I write, Rio’s new Olympic Course is about to stage its first test event, when nine leading Brazilian players play an exhibition.
Here’s what I know about the course, and I bring you this, hot off the press from none other than the official Rio 2016 website: ‘It comprises 18 holes, two artificial lakes, and other features – such as sand bunkers.’
It's always 'Grow the Game'
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s lovely - but that sounds just like my local muni. It’s not as if we’ll be watching Augusta National.
Anyway, my point is this: golf has no part to play at the Olympics. Nor, while I am on my particular soapbox, do tennis, basketball or football.
Winning an Olympic gold medal should be the very pinnacle of your sport, and if it’s not, then that sport shouldn’t be at the Olympics. (Boxing I can accept as it’s for amateurs only.)
I heard many spurious reasons for golf to be included, the main one being that it would ‘grow the game’ around the world.
Where, exactly, will it grow? It’s already exploding across Asia. In Europe and North America
I’m fairly confident most people know what golf is.
It’s not like there is anyone in the world – and I’m sticking my neck out and saying NOT A SINGLE PERSON OF THE EIGHT BILLION ON THE PLANET - who is going to watch the Olympics and suddenly think: ‘Wow, this golf looks amazing! Is it new?
I’ve never heard of it before – I must get down the driving range and book some lessons from my local PGA pro.’
Y’see, Tiger Woods has already done this job. The most famous sportsman on the planet, as he was for more than a decade, opened up golf to more people than the Olympics could ever dream of.
I am not visualising golf taking off around the world when Gregory Bourdy steps up to receive his golf medal. (No offence Greg).
However, there is one way that golf should be represented in Rio, and the fact it is not is an abdication of duty by everyone involved. Why it’s not in the Paralympics is beyond me.
You only have to look at how many injured ex-servicemen use golf to help with their rehab to see what a brilliant sport it can be. Military personnel, especially, love it because it requires so much mental discipline – as well as helping them physically.
But anyone who has watched blind golf, or amputee golf, will testify that it’s quite astonishing. The skill levels are unbelievable – and would make compelling viewing. And yes, if it was in the Paralympics it certainly would inspire people with a disability of any sort to get out and try it.
That is what the Olympics should be about, should it not? Well apparently not, so we’re stuck with Gregory Bourdy. No offence Greg.
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.