I get it. Golf isn’t for everybody. Similar to how some individuals think about baseball too gradual for his or her viewing pleasure, golf suffers the identical destiny to an excellent bigger extent. Nevertheless, golf on the 2021 Tokyo Olympics has had even essentially the most diehard golf followers falling asleep.
The lads’s golf occasion is presently in between its third and remaining rounds, with the ladies’s occasion set to happen between Wednesday, August 4 and Saturday, August 7. Be actual with me for a second: What number of of you on the market can inform me who’s main the boys’s golf occasion after the third day of competitors? Clearly, the hardcore followers are going to know. This query isn’t for them. It’s for the informal followers who comply with the key golf tournaments: the Masters, each Opens, and the PGA Championship, and are conscious of the massive storylines surrounding the PGA Tour typically. That’s the group that the Olympic Committee had the duty of making an attempt to retain with their event, so let’s see in the event that they succeeded.
With out trying it up, who’s main after 54 holes? Xander Schauffele. He’s the world’s number five golfer. He’s not the largest title concerned — that will most likely be Rory McIlroy who presently sits tied for fifth place. You would say that Bryson DeChambeau and/or Jon Rahm are larger names, however they needed to step away from the Olympics attributable to COVID-19 complications. Perhaps Morikawa, however he nonetheless hasn’t reached the identical heights of fame that McIlroy has achieved earlier in his profession.
That’s not the purpose although. The purpose is that no person cares what number of large names are concerned. Good golf is nice golf, and with 2021 being the game’s second 12 months again within the Olympics, you’d suppose followers could be desirous to see it on the world’s greatest stage. That hasn’t been the case although. The Olympics as an entire have taken a hit, however golf has been hit particularly exhausting. So, what may have been completed to create extra buzz round this event?
The draw of the Olympics is having the ability to showcase expertise from all over the world in each well-known and obscure sports activities. The Olympics has been recognized for showcasing these sports activities in a barely completely different method than its followers are usually used to. Take basketball for instance. Whereas the sport is actually the identical, there are minor rule modifications, courtroom changes, and officiating standards that NBA followers are usually not accustomed to seeing. It brings a unique really feel to the game distinctive to the Olympics for American viewers. The Olympics are usually not making an attempt to duplicate the NBA, and that’s factor.
Olympic golf, then again, as introduced at this time, is making an attempt to change into an unofficial fifth main occasion performed each 4 years with out the thrill that makes the majors so thrilling. It’s merely one other event performed with the identical format we see each different week. I can’t blame the Olympics for making an attempt this. Golf is steeped in custom. The Olympics wish to stand out, however not on the expense of being handled as a joke. That being mentioned, there’s nonetheless a path that the Olympic Committee may have taken to keep up golf’s traditions whereas standing out from the key tournaments.
Let’s speak about match play — a a lot much less widespread golf event format, however one that will go well with the Olympics very nicely. Match play differs from stroke play in that scoring is finished based mostly on particular person holes quite than each stroke. Mainly, if Golfer A will get a par on a gap and Golfer B will get a triple bogey, Golfer B would solely be down one quite than three. Match play tends to result in golfers taking extra dangers as nicely, as a result of they’re solely competing towards a single competitor. If Golfers A and B are each mendacity three, however Golfer A is six ft from the outlet, whereas golfer B is within the tough with obstacles obstructing the road to the pin, Golfer B will probably be extra inclined to take a riskier shot to try to attract even on that gap. It’s a method of play that each the Ryder Cup and Presidents’ Cup have adopted over time that breaks up conventional scoring and is all the time a welcome breath of contemporary air. Even additional, the Ryder and Presidents’ Cups are usually introduced as worldwide tournaments with every participant concerned representing their nation. Huh? That sounds an terrible lot like one thing that will match the Olympics fantastically.
Moderately than holding golf as a purely particular person occasion, match play may open Olympic golf as much as turning into a group occasion in the identical approach that gymnastics does. Whereas we may nonetheless acknowledge the person gamers for his or her success, we may additionally acknowledge the international locations as an entire in a group sense, thus enveloping the event in a bigger sense of patriotism.
There are clearly some kinks on this format that will have to be labored out. For instance, the Olympics presently subject 60 golfers from across the globe for his or her event. If the Olympics nonetheless wished the prospect to acknowledge the person golfers who did nicely in a head-to-head model event, they’d have to extend the sector to 64 gamers and increase the event to happen over the course of six days quite than the traditional 4 (So?). The Olympics may additionally scale back the variety of gamers to 32 or 16 so as to have the occasion happen over a extra affordable period of time, however that will then restrict the attain of the game as fewer of the sport’s elite would have the ability to attend.
I’m not saying my plan would repair every part, however with how poorly golf has fared by way of viewership for these Olympics, it may be time to take a step again and have a look at completely different methods of promoting the game. All I’m saying is that it might be enjoyable, and it’s price a shot. So, Paris, the ball’s in your courtroom (or in your inexperienced, hardy har har). You will have a chance to essentially shake issues up on the 2024 Olympics. Cease making an attempt to duplicate the PGA Tour and be your personal factor.