The Cut : The Cut - Spring 2016
22 THE CUT 22OLYMPICS H istory and histrionics featured in almost equal measure during the run-up to golf ’s first appearance at an Olympic Games in 112 years. Historically speaking, golf is a very different sport today from when America took the honours at the 1904 Olympics. Gold medallists George Lyon (individual) and the US all-male team would probably not believe the prodigious length modern-day players can hit a ball, their almost space-age equipment, the tours, the stupendous prize money on offer. As for histrionics, a posse of the world’s leading male players were almost falling over themselves in their haste to pull out of the Rio Games, citing a variety of reasons, from the zika virus to crammed playing schedules. Their reluctance to participate fuelled the debate about whether golf should even be part of the Games. Would the sport become, quite literally, a nine-day Olympic wonder? Did it scrub up, pass muster, make a good enough impression to win itself a permanent gig at every Olympiad after Tokyo 2020? Or were its critics correct when they asserted “golf doesn’t need the Olympics and the Olympics doesn’t need golf ”? The International Golf Federation, the body that lobbied for golf to get its Olympic pass, are convinced golf passed its Olympic test with flying colours. For starters, the final day of the men’s 72- hole strokeplay was sold out. An estimated 15,000-20,000 people were on the Olympic course for that final thrilling round. Neither will it have gone unnoticed that, while golf was selling out its venue, many of the other 34 sports had swathes of empty seats for most if not all of their sessions. Golf may not appeal to all on the IOC. The sport reeks of exclusivity and privilege in certain parts of the world and for too long accusations of racism and sexism have plagued it. These are HOW DID THE FIRST OLYMPIC GOLF COMPETITION SINCE 1904 MEASURE UP? DID IT CONFOUND THE CRITICS AND WILL WE SEE IT AGAIN AFTER TOKYO 2020? BRENDAN TELFER WAS IN RIO.
The Cut - Winter 2016
The Cut - Summer 2017