What will the return of golf to the Olympics look like?
For the first time since 1904 golf will be included in the summer Olympic Games
. In 1904 there were 80 participants, 77 being American and 3 Canadians. Even though the numbers were stacked against him, Canadian George Lyons captured the gold medal. “This time around qualification will be based on world ranking as of 11 July 2016, with a total of 60 players qualifying in each of the men's and women's events. The top 15 players of each gender will qualify, with a limit of four golfers per country that can qualify this way. The remaining spots will go the highest-ranked players from countries that do not already have two golfers qualified. The IGF has guaranteed that at least one golfer from the host nation and each geographical region (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania) will qualify. The IGF posts weekly lists of qualifiers based on current rankings for men and women”. The new Olympic golf course was built at the Reserva de Marapendi in the Barra da Tijuca zone.
Louis Oosthuizen recently indicated that he was not going to participate in the games due to his hectic schedule. He joins Adam Scott and Vijay Singh as players who have declined the invite to Rio. Obviously, this has the International Olympic Committee a bit concerned. They have gone to great lengths in trying to accommodate professionals by scheduling the Olympic event around the PGA and European Tour schedules. Although some of the men have not embraced the event, the women seem to be wholeheartedly enthused. It is unfortunate that these three men have chosen to skip this event, and there is a chance that others may follow, but the Games will go on.
*this just in…4-29-16…Charl Schwarzel has just announced he will not be participating in Rio.
There is a commitment for the 2020 games as well, so let’s hope that the competition in Rio goes as well as hoped. My personal recommendation would be to make it a team event. Perhaps playing for your country would be more appealing to professionals than another 72 hole stroke event.