How can it be the greatest sporting occasion if the greatest game yet devised by man is not included? I am, of course, referring to the Olympic games, which begin in Beijing on Friday without so much as a Texas scramble. Synchronized swimming, small bore rifle shooting and dressage, which together attract fewer spectators than the least well supported Europro Tour event, will, of course, all be there.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating another run-of-the-mill, 72-hole, strokeplay event involving all the greatest players in the world, because the last thing we need is another one of those. The four majors we have at present, even though they could be more equitably distributed geographically, are quite sufficient.
Tennis has made the mistake of staging an Olympic event that is dramatically less significant than any of the grand slam tournaments. No one really cares who wins the tennis in Beijing… unless, of course, it’s our very own Andrew Murray.
Having given it a great deal of thought over my Weetabix this morning, I believe I have come up with a format for the Olympic golf event that I am confident will produce a genuinely entertaining competition that is so refreshingly unique that it is certain to be an overwhelming success. Not only that but it could also make a significant contribution to world peace, no less.
Each country that wished to participate should enter a fourball team (the two best scores to count on each hole and full handicap allowance) made up of a professional golfer, a businessman, a showbiz celebrity and a senior member of the government. For example, the USA ‘dream team’ could be Phil Mickelson, Bill Gates, Jack Nicholson and George W Bush.
Although the system hasn’t enjoyed a great deal of success of late, perhaps here in Britain we could adopt a method of choosing our team similar to that employed to select our entry for the Eurovision Song Contest and let the public decide. Personally, I think we could do a lot worse than Ian Poulter, Richard Branson, Jodie Kidd and Alistair Darling, but I’m sure readers will have their own favourites.
As salesmen the world over have discovered, there’s no better place for doing a deal than a golf course. The relaxed atmosphere, beautiful surroundings and the considerable amount of time spent in each others company together create a mood that is particularly conducive to settling important issues. And so the world leaders, aware of the enormous electoral benefit in bringing home a gold medal, will want to be there. And in the bar afterwards over a pint or two, they will inevitably have time to sort out some of the big problems such as global warming, food shortages and agreeing on a universal plug socket so that you don’t have to buy adaptors every time you go on holiday.