The Olympics are nearly here and if you’re a golfer (like one of the many that frequent Farley golf bubbles), there’s a good chance you’ll be tuning in to watch some of the best golfers in the world represent their respective countries. But if you’re not a golfer, you may not realize how big of a deal golf is for this year’s Games.
The 2016 Rio Olympic Games marks the return of golf after a more than 100-year absence. The last time golf was a part of the Olympics was way back in 1904 in St. Louis Missouri. The winner was actually a Canadian named George Lyon. In other words, Canada has won every single Gold medal in Olympic golf for the past century! It’s impressive as long as you leave out the other half of the story.
The return of golf in 2016 means that Canada will have to defend this title for the first time in 112 years, which is a big deal. But why has golf been absent from the Olympics for so long?
Where Did Golf Go?
The last time the sport of golf was a part of the summer Olympics was the games of 1904, over 100 years ago. It took until 2009 for the International Olympic Committee to decide to bring it back. So why has such a popular sport been left out of the Olympics for so long?
According to Golf Today, one of the biggest reasons is that golf already has enough large international events. Events like the Ryder cup or the President’s cup, not to mention all four majors and four World Gold Championship events, manage to keep international players extremely busy. Golf is one of the few sports that is truly a worldwide affair.
Will it be a Success?
Well only time will tell, but a couple of hiccups along the way won’t help the success of this tournament be a sure thing.
The PGA tour hasn’t embraced the Olympics as readily as other sport organizations do. When you think about it, having to put a hold on events for a couple weeks while the Games occur would cost them millions of dollars in lost revenue and sponsorship money. It’s no wonder that they have chosen to not push back any tournaments.
This means that players that want to play in the PGA Championship beginning July 25 won’t have much downtime before the Olympics 2 weeks later. And there are several important tournaments for the FedEx Cup right behind the Games, followed by the Ryder Cup in September.
Because of the tight schedule, many golfers cannot afford to make the trip to Rio if they want to do well this season.
Brendon de Jonge is in this category—he can’t afford to take the time off if he wants to keep his place on the tour.
There’s also a myriad of players that aren’t going due to the ongoing health concern of the Zika virus.
Nevertheless, much of the world’s top golfing talent is going to Rio, and it will surely be some great golf to keep an eye on!
There’s no denying that the Olympic games have a way of reinvigorating some sports. Many of the athletes competing in some of the lesser known sports like Judo or trampoline may have been inspired to pick up the sport after watching it in a previous games.
So don’t be surprised when golf has another surge in popularity as young viewers will want to try their hand at hitting some golf balls (maybe even in a golf dome!)