Is Zika the Real Threat to Olympic Golf?

Rio 2016 Olympics Golf

It’s back after more than a century off, Golf has made it back to the Olympics……….or has it.

 

After the less than ideal construction of the Olympic Golf Course we are now faced with the absence of the sports top 4 golfers apparently because of the dreaded Zika virus. The Zika virus is a nasty and insidious threat but it doesn’t seem to be dissuading the legions of other athletes who have trained for 4 years to compete at the world’s premier sporting event.

From the get go the selection of Golfs millionaires into the Olympics has at best been a controversial decision, everybody agrees that golf has an identity crisis and the Olympics could really help the sport but for some unexplainable reason Golf doesn’t want it, Why?

Professional golf is not a sport lacking in competition at the highest level, in fact golf is happy to bounce tournaments connected with Presidential candidates if it finds the association distasteful. Golf at the very top can it seems afford to be choosy. Is it about the money? This is an accusation levelled by some of the Olympic community, this seems unlikely and unfair, golf at the top flight is well paid and a few weeks ‘pro bono’ really won’t hurt anyone.

 

So before the first ball has been struck the IOC has indicated strongly that it will not include Golf as a sport in subsequent Olympics, is this fair?

No, we don’t think so, the top 4 golfers in the world are not all of golf. We at IDG think there are some very serious lessons to be learnt from Golfs reintegration onto the premier stage. Amongst the solutions we would like golf to be treated like boxing, this should be an amateur only party. For many the Olympics shouldn’t be showcasing the professional game but showcasing the future of the professional game. Free from the commercialisation of professional golf the world’s best amateurs could promote the sport of golf in a new and invigorating way. The simple fact is that the Professional Tour has evolved into its current format with majors, everything for the top four is about getting as many majors in the bag as they can and anything that will distract from this is simply avoided. For an amateur playing under their national flag and the Olympic rings would be an honour and not an inconvenience in an overwhelmed competition schedule.

 

So we say please keep Golf in the Olympics but give those who would benefit most from the opportunity the chance to entertain and inspire the public.