Rio 2016: Is there any way to make golf work in the Olympics?

Golf’s inclusion in the 2016 Olympics is one of the most puzzling IOC decisions in recent years. For one thing, that decision forced Rio to build a golf course, which has turned out to be a major problem.

The other problem is that the golf calendar is already super-saturated. Four majors, WGC events, Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and the tour playoffs — that’s a lot to handle. (Granted, tennis has the same problem but is starting to get a foothold in the Games.)

So if you must have golf in the Games, why not make it interesting? My longtime work buddy Scott Michaux has a modest proposal: Have national teams play. It would still be a stroke-play format with individual gold/silver/bronze, but you’d also take scores and add them up, NCAA-style, to give team medals.

A similar proposal at CBSSports: Same thing, only in match play.

Published by

Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

6 thoughts on “Rio 2016: Is there any way to make golf work in the Olympics?”

  1. No caddies.

    Seven club limit.

    (Possibly as low as four, or even three (a 4-iron, a 9-iron, and a putter).)

    And perhaps all clubs could be supplied by the organizers and/or made to the same specifications (same grips, same materials, same grooves, with the only permissible variations being the lengths of the shafts. (The bidding war to become the Official Golf Equipment Manufacturer could prove very lucrative indeed for the organizers.)

  2. Cool!

    Hey, even better — instead of building a course, build a driving range and a putting green. Make it like Olympic shooting — all target practice.

  3. Why even go to that much effort?

    Find an appropriately large patch of land, use a lawnmower to cut 36 circles (diameter: five meters) for tee boxes and greens, and send the players out there.

    (The makeshift greens would operate under winter rules: an automatic two-putt if the first attempt isn’t holed out.)

    The course could be played in both directions (the first day’s first tee becoming the next day’s eighteenth green, and so forth); it might even be possible to set up a completely different layout every single day.

  4. Re: Scott’s suggestion

    Golf already has an annual World Cup with teams of two representing each country with the combined scores of both players determining the winning country. If olympic golf was to replace this event it would actually free up some time in the golf calendar in non-olympic years, while sacrificing the world cup would show some commitment from golf to the olympics.

    A team event would mean golfers from more countries would be able to participate, but then I would guess that, contrary to their stated aspirations, the IOC are more interested in getting the stars of the game on board than wider participation.

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