Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Golf doesn't need to be an Olympic sport

Golf’s power brokers – the ones not named Tiger, anyway – have gone to the Olympics in Beijing as part of a lobbying effort to convince the International Olympic Committee to put golf back in the Games.

Golf used to be part of the Olympics, long, long ago, but lost its spot to the more traditional Olympic sports like beach volleyball.

I don’t much care one way or the other about golf in the Olympics.
Golf already has more important events than the Olympics – they’re called major championships. And the Ryder Cup.

Playing for Olympic gold isn’t going to be bigger than those. It would be important to the players who choose to participate – Phil Mickelson has endorsed the idea but I don’t see Tiger ever showing up in the Olympics – but the golf world won’t revolve around the Olympics.

Quick, who won the men’s tennis gold medal in the last Olympics?
Nicolas Massu from Chile.

Didn’t exactly make him a household name did it?
Golf could be helped by the Olympics because it would, theoretically, expose the game to more people. Participation has hit a flat spot and officials want to spike the number of new players and, perhaps, the Olympics would help.
Would it?

I don’t see the world rushing out to take up badminton or archery.
But golf needs to grow and if people smarter than me (no wisecracks, please) think being part of the Olympics will help, then fine.

However, I grew up thinking the Olympics were about swimming and diving and running and weightlifting and all those other sports that get ignored except during the Olympics.
Tee times were for VIPs in town for the Games.


Rob Turner said...

As long as the world of Golf has pros like Gary Player who don’t mind raking up frequent flyer points then the powers that be in Golf don’t have to figure out ways and means to popularize the sport. But unfortunately that is not the case with most golfers taking to the game with a single point agenda of finding a permanent card on the PGA Tour and a nice little home near Orlando to base themselves during the tournament weeks.

What I don’t understand is what’s the harm if Golf once again becomes an Olympic sport. Surely it can’t do the game no harm if it is allowed to showcase itself at the greatest sporting spectacle of them all. Of course it would be a big dampener if the big names in the game don’t turn up to represent their country.

As for the last Olympic Gold Medalist in Tennis, of course you don’t remember Nicolas Massu, but then is it his fault that the number one player in the world at that time Roger Federer failed to get past the initial stages of the tournament. Had Federer won, one would have had no problem in recalling the last Olympic winner in tennis.