Olympic golf - a flop? August 15 2016
Overall the run up to the 2016 Olympic golf event could not have been worse. We heard constantly about players who were not going. We heard of players that didn't know what the format was and we heard about how disappointed legends were about the attitudes of today's players. It was insipid poor journalism because at exactly the same time equally strong players were gearing up to play at Rio. Willet, Stenson, Reed and Rose expressed both their pride and their excitement at going and constantly they were being asked about players who had decided not to go. I am not saying that the coverage of this issue was unfair it was what it was but we lost a lot of the normally positive build up to a major event.
But the great thing about golf is all the coverage matters not a jot (that includes the commentators). Send golfers out onto a fair test and they will produce excitement. Put two major winners onto a back nine within a couple of shots and just stand back. The control and power required to win though is amazing and shows the world that golfers are indeed athletes. Rose's after round interviews also shows how much this means to him. I would bet a large sum that many golfers will envy him this title.
And yes I do see this as a major event. It happens once every four years, the winner gets an gold medal and a place in their nation's hearts. When it is all said and done Justin Rose's gold will add to a great medal total for GB just as Andy Murray's has. He will be remembered for creating that sporting legacy and will also hold onto this title for four years not just one. If I were Justin Rose I would have the gold medal embroidered onto my staff bag and I would wear my GB shirt to play in everyone of next years majors.
Mind in many respects Matt Kuchar's charge for Bronze may be worthy of a movie of its own. To medal from where he started the day shows how much can change over 18 holes. Team USA will rightly celebrate this bronze and isn't it great that in this event we don't see third place as losing? Can anyone remember who has finished 3rd in the last three majors?
I hope that golf as a sporting community learns from this. The change was resented more than welcomed and too many people seemed oblivious to the scale of the Olympics in terms of world sport. Justin Rose and the field have just elevated our sport onto a global stage and taken our sport into households who previously would never have considered watching golf.