A month ago professional golfers began bowing out of the Olympic Games. Was all the enormous time and effort to get the sport back into the Games really worth it? After all, the Olympics are about getting amateurs into the spotlight – not professional players. So even though Adam Scott, Charl, Louis, Rory and G-Mac won’t be attending, we wonder if they had any right to be in Rio in the first place.
Our task is to answer the question, does golf belong in the Olympic games? Is golf about winning prize money in the 4 major championships, or is it a sport meant for an Olympic gold medal? In opposition of it being included in the games are the following arguments.
The fact is golfers don’t care about the Olympics. The pinnacle of a professional golfer’s career is to win in the majors – not earn an Olympic gold medal. And as pretentious as it sounds, the pros are in it to win prize money. It’s important to find those outstanding athletes who aren’t just there to be paid to perform. The spirit of the games is best expressed in the Olympic Creed:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
Another fact: Professional golfers from countries where golf is popular will have an unfair advantage. Do you think countries like Kenya and Nicaragua have a bunch of PGA professionals ready to stroke it out? Olympic competition is meant for amateurs who can’t practice their sport full-time. It’s about bringing those athletes with the greatest natural talent to the top. Bringing in the professionals diminishes the spirit of the game.
Furthermore, the Olympics doesn’t fit into the schedule of a professional golfer. Just like NBA players, the pros need time off to spend time with their families, practice, and travel to the next tournament. It doesn’t help the PGA Championship is the week after the Olympics too. These guys would rather win the Masters or the US or British Opens – not an Olympic gold medal.
Lastly, professional golfers don’t appreciate the Olympics like other athletes do. People prepare for years, sell their cars and homes just to afford to train for the Games. Golfers going to Rio will fly down there and treat the tournament like it’s a weekend outing with friends. Perhaps this is why the pros are coming up with lame excuses as to why they can’t attend. Do we really believe that they’re afraid of the Zika virus? It sounds like a convenient excuse not to fly to South America.
Honestly, if a sport can’t deliver its best players, then it doesn’t belong in the Games. And in this case, the best players don’t really belong in the competition anyway.
Here is a video where Rory McIlroy says he has no regrets over pulling out of this year’s Olympic Games. The video caused quite a stir as Rory said he probably wouldn’t even watch golf anyway!