The Cut : The Cut - Winter 2016
26 THE CUT WELCOME BACK! According to Dean Murphy, New Zealand Golf “couldn’t be happier” that golf has returned to the Olympic Games. “There’s been a lot of talk, a lot of criticism around whether or not golf is an Olympic sport,” the NZ Golf CEO said, “but we hold the view that tennis and boxing, as well as other professional sports, are part of the Games and so why should golf be excluded?” Murphy says the Kiwi golfers “view the Games as a really important fixture to have on their schedule... our players are looking forward to having the opportunity to peak for the goal of winning a medal ever y four years”. The selection process is such that on 11 July the two top-ranked male and female Kiwi golfers qualify for the Games – at this stage Danny Lee, Ryan Fox, Lydia Ko and Liv Cheng – and on 12 July New Zealand Golf nominates the eligible players to the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) selectors. It is those selectors who decide whether or not the four players are ratified. The NZOC demands that any athlete nominated for the Games should have the potential to finish inside the top 16 in their event. AsfarasNZGolfis concerned, Murphy says the Olympics campaign will cost the organisation “around $150,000”. High Performance Sport NZ does not deem golf to be a high- performance sport so has made limited funding available. “Because of the strict requirements over branding at the Games, all the golfers’ equipment, such as golf bag, umbrella, clothing – what they wear on the course and off it – has to be specially manufactured,” says Murphy. “The cost of apparel and flights alone is north of $30,000.” New Zealand Golf High Performance director Gregg Thorpe will travel to Rio as manager/coach of the New Zealand golf team. Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Danny Willett, Justin Rose and Branden Grace, with only world No 7 Adam Scott declaring himself unavailable. The top 10 women’s qualifiers are current world No 1 Ko, Inbee Park, Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Brooke Henderson, Amy Yang, Sei Young Kim, In Gee Chun, Shanshan Feng and Mingee Lee. The women’s competition will be played 17-20 August. The men’s Olympic competition takes place 11-14 August, meaning it falls after the remaining three majors of 2016 (the US Open, 16-19 June, the Open Championship, 14-17 July and the USPGA Championship, 28-31 July). The lucrative Fed-Ex Cup playoffs begin just 11 days after the Olympics finish and top American and European players also square off in the biennial Ryder Cup competition which takes place at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota from 27 September-2 October. Both men’s and women’s competitions will be played at the new course built at Reserva de Marapendi in the Barra da Tijuca district, where the majority of the Olympic venues are located. The course was designed by Gil Hanse Golf Course Design. It is a par-71 and set up to be 6,522 metres for the men’s event and 5,944m for the women.
The Cut - Spring 2016