After 112 years, golf is again an Olympic sport. Before that, it was part of the program only in Paris 1900 and St Louis 1904. 112 years without golf, the last 4 major winners have been major winners for the first time ever, golf is at an all-time high in terms of popularity…Yet it is receiving plenty of opposition at the Olympics. Maybe there was a reason they discontinued it after 1904…
Player after player are pulling out of the Rio Olympics because of the Zika virus which is a plausible excuse. However, have you heard of any Swimmers, rowers, divers pulling out? Of course not. The reason is pretty simple, for the vast majority of these athletes a gold medal at the Olympics is the pinnacle they can reach. They train for four years and the miniscule chance of contracting the virus is not going to keep them away.
The Olympics for the top golfers on tour is nothing more than a nuisance. Rory Mcilroy is in the top 3 in the world and one of the most exciting talents in the game of golf at the moment. After pulling out of the games in Rio he was quoted saying 'I won't watch golf at Olympics, I will watch the sports that matter'. Golf is already a sport overflowing with International events and as the Olympics is taking place right in the middle of the golfing season it was never going to work.
Olympians train their whole lives to be at this event, for golfers it’d be more like a week off where they enjoy the week and get away from the intensity of weekly competition. People have to sacrifice so much to train for the Olympics and I don’t think golfers or a true golfing fan would give it the time and attention it deserves. I’d watch 4 hours of straight golf on the Sunday evening of a major championship but I’m afraid golf at the Olympics offers very little in terms of appeal. This is an example a miss-match in time well spent. in order to optimize a golfer's time, they need to be competing in the right champion ships were viewer will care to watch the sport they love and the professional golfer's feel like there time is well spent.
It was also marketed and set up all wrong. The biggest week on the golfing calendar is the Ryder Cup. The Olympics, for all intents and purposes, is similar to the Ryder Cup in that players are representing a region rather than themselves. This was a perfect opportunity to play a unique team format putting national teams through a tournament with the entertaining and eccentric fourball and foursome events we rarely see anywhere else. Instead, the organizers stuck with a 72 hole tournament we see week in week out on the European and US tours.
For me it’s pretty simple, golf doesn’t need the Olympics, and the Olympics doesn’t need golf. Professional golfers need to know that playing in the 2016 Olympic games is time well spent for their profession and golf fans need to know this event is tailored to their passion for the game. By streamlining redundant events for professional golfers to play on a main stage for recognition, the fans enjoy a focused international competition tailored to those who truly love the sport and the Olympics and Professional golf players aren't wasting their time on a redundant showcase of the sport's best players with little to no engaged viewership.
It's time to play the game well- for those who care about the sport.