Golf Blog: Golf in the Olympics
The 2016 Olympics will mark the return of Golf to the Olympics after an absence of 108 years.
The last time golf was in the Olympics, 74 out of the 77 golfers participating were from the USA.
Luckily that will not be happening this time!
We all know that golf has been included because it is a lucrative sport that will be good for Olympic business.
Whether it can be good for the sport of golf itself is still up for debate.
I for one am unsure as to how it will benefit the game.
It will cause logistical problems for the 2016 golfing calendar, as the USPGA Championship runs at exactly the same time of year as the Olympics.
There is no chance of the USPGA Championship moving.
It is always four weeks after The Open and that won’t be moving either, which will leave two major tournaments within days of each other.
How the International Olympic committee and the PGA Championship will sort that out is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure you wont see Tiger and Rory playing two tournaments in a very short space of time.
The PGA championship is far more important than a gold medal to players, and they certainly will not be playing in the Olympics for free which leaves the IOC in a slight predicament.
The golf on view needs to be exciting because if it is not viewers will switch off.
The current idea of a 72-hole individual stroke play tournament for both men and women seems to me like a waste of a perfectly good opportunity for golf to reinvent itself for a new audience.
As the Olympics are based around teams surely foursomes would be the best format for the tournament.
Each country could have 2 teams, with everyone in the team coming from that country.
Adding a shot clock would also help to add excitement by stopping slow play.
But the biggest question yet to be resolved is which country will Rory McIlroy be representing if he qualifies.
The fact that McIlroy is questioning his inclusion seems to suggest that the he is questioning the legitimacy of the tournament itself, which is a worrying prospect for the IOC and golf’s governing bodies.
I am not sure though why McIlroy is choosing who to represent anyway, he was born and lived in Holywood Northern Ireland, which is enough to show he should be representing Great Britain.
There will be criticism of golf’s inclusion in the Olympics right up until the first ball is hit, but golf will be in Rio 2016 and we will have to wait to see if it does the sport justice.