I’ve just spent an hour watching the stream of the Olympic golf on the BBC website and frankly I was bored after about 15 minutes… and I love the game.
So I’m staggered if anyone thinks this is going to help grow the game, or even be a success in the future if this is what it will be.
Firstly it strikes you there seems to be nobody there.
On television it looks like the only people there are people who are working there, cameramen, stewards and rules officials. If a player hits a decent shot there will be a smattering of applause, the type that you’d hear if you knock a good one of the tee at your monthly medal.
Secondly and most strikingly is the fact there is hardly anything different from some regular event. It both looks and feels like a Friday at a low end European Tour event in some random country. Trophee Hassan in Morocco anyone?
It’s 72-hole strokeplay, the field is missing stars and the presentation for a TV audience befits a low-grade tournament… it’s hugely dull monotone announcers make you want to do that Michael Phelps cupping thing to your eyeballs, ears and anywhere else to deprecate you of your senses.
The format could have been anything. Matchplay or any team event would have been more preferable to watch and to keep people interested.
A half field with no cut is both poor for television as there isn’t enough going on in the early rounds, and by the time it gets interesting come the back nine on Sunday it may be too late?
Missing star names is always a tricky issue but if we are honest, probably Rory and maybe Jordan aside, none of them really transcend the sport so fairly irrelevant to anyone who doesn’t follow their golf… just got to big up the ones who are there and tell their stories I guess?
Unfortunately from what we can see on the BBC coverage there isn’t much of that. And to be honest it’s tough to blame them.
Justin Rose even got a hole-in-one yesterday for them to go off, and to be fair they could have done more with this perhaps? It's an amazing achievement as we all know but why not tell us the odds of doing this or tell the public about Rose? Problem us us golf types assume everyone knows Rose and we know what assuming does...
Problem is the BBC can package up Ping-Pong or swimming to make it way more exciting to watch, which is pretty worrying!
There was an opportunity here…
If you’re like me over the past week you’ve been glued to swimming, gymnastics and synchronised diving amongst other events.
Semi-ignorantly critiquing poor form on a treble backflip with tuck or bemoaning the amount of splash on 10m high dive. It’s funny but we have become engrossed.
The commentators who are experts talk about their sport passionately and attempt to make it exciting but they are also explaining the absolute basics of their sport at every turn, never assuming the viewer knows what is going on.
In golf, an extremely complicated sport, there seems to be none of this...
‘That’s a lovely save there from Sergio’
What’s a save? Who is Sergio?
‘Rafa Cabrera-Bello is a real joker on the European Tour’
What’s the European Tour? Is that the PGA Tour that Tiger Woods does the computer game for? He doesn't look like a joker.
‘Gregory Bourdy can probably get home in two here’
What does that mean? What’s the relevance of it? Two flights back to France?
The Olympics does have the eyes of the world. It does inspire people to take up sports.
But golf will not be one of them if golf is so arrogant to not change to accommodate and educate different people about our game.
Add this to launching it in a country that suffer from huge social, economic and political inequality, just like golf, it’s no surprise Brazilians are flocking to the beach volleyball instead.
If, on the biggest sporting stage in the world, golf acts so insularly not caring about people outside the game, then you fear that golf will suck itself to its own death like some kind of black hole.
This may sound morbid, this may sound negative, but I dare you to stick on the stream.
And if you watch Graeme De Laet pontificating for ages over a pitch shot, or the random South African sounding commentators go eerily silent for a minute, you’ll want to be sucked into a supermassive black hole too…
Either that or you’ll flick over to Jessica Ennis in the Heptathlon hurdles...
‘Come on Jess, sort out that trail leg!’
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.