What’s Behind the Story of Golf and the Olympics?
Golf and the Olympics: Is it a Match?
If only we could travel back in time to 1904 and pose this question to Gold Medalist George Lyon: “Does golf really belong in the Olympics?”
Cut to 112 years later in Rio, where the question hangs in the air with no resolution in sight, except for one promise: that we shall meet again in Tokyo 2020. Beyond that, the future of this relationship is uncertain.
But like every relationship, both sides carry an equal responsibility for success. Now the “What’s in it for me?” question is on the table.
What the Rules Say
The IGF says that they “recognize their responsibility under Rule 2, Article 14 of the Olympic Charter to ‘promote a positive legacy from the Olympic games.’” This legacy includes that following the Olympic Games, the course is destined to be a public facility intended to promote golf in Brazil, and around the world. This should result in a significant increase in awareness and participation in the sport in Brazil, a destination not commonly known for its golf courses. (There are roughly 125 golf courses in Brazil, compared to 14,500 in the United States.)
Combined with the conviction to promote volunteerism, social and economic growth in Rio, golf in the Olympics promises to leave an impressive legacy in Rio. That’s quite a gold promise ring!
While there’s still controversy concerning the withdrawal of top players in the games, citing concerns over the Zika virus threat, Martin Kaymer of Germany said, “For me it would have been a big mistake not to come. It is so inspiring, the work ethic and the way the other Olympians dedicate their lives pretty much to their sport.”
Are golf and the Olympics a match? We can only answer, “They are now!” Or until 2020, at least.