Ever since Rory’s announcement that he will not be playing in the Rio Olympics, there has been a growing concern that other influential players will now follow suit. The World No.4 is definitely the highest profile player that has been added to the list of players that are opting out on this year’s games. The list seems to be growing creating a growing concern for golf continuing in the Olympics.
The players that have pulled out have cited that it was due to the risk of the Zika virus, a virus that is known to cause birth defects and currently has no cure. The men’s tournament is planned to take place on August 11th to the 14th with the women’s tournament taking place the following week. This comes at the busiest time during the PGA season, and as much it is a huge honour to play for their country there is no money involved for the players.
In the run up to the 2016 Olympics players have two majors, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. After the Games, the FedEx Cup playoffs start which include 4 tournaments, The Barclays, Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship and the TOUR Championship by Coco-Cola, each with a $8 million purse. The play-offs determine the season-long champion on the PGA Tour and that player receives a nice bonus cheque for $10 million. Unfortunately, all of these tournaments take precedent on the player’s calendar as they arguably have more prestige than winning Olympic Gold.
So is golfs place safe in The Olympics? No, there will be a vote held in 2017 to decide whether or not golf will continue to be part of the Olympics. Golf is still due to be played at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but after that its place is unsure. It is safe to say with one of the highest profile players pulling out of the Olympics it does not help the potential future of golf in the Olympics.
Growing up playing golf you would practice that five footer on the putting green. This is for the ‘green jacket’ or ‘the Claret jug’ not a gold medal. Maybe it’s a generational thing and I hope this is the case. Maybe the future of golf will be practice that five footer for Olympic gold.
By Rachael McQueen, Community Engagement Executive at Shot Scope