Yesterday it was reported that Adam Scott is skipping the Olympic Games this summer. Good for him. Fellow Australian and gold medalist swimmer Dawn Frazer basically had a meltdown and accused Scott of being unpatriotic. Anyone who witnessed Scott’s magnificent 2013 Masters triumph and celebration of country knows better. This has nothing to do with patriotism and everything to do with taking a principled stand against the obvious misplacement of a sport that does not belong in the Olympic Games. Scott is a professional. Professional golfers biggest stage is the majors. The Olympics should be for amateurs. I get that it’s not but there’s nothing wrong with taking a stand in what you believe in. Thankfully, South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel quickly followed suit and I suspect the floodgates of professionals sensing a guilt free option to skip has been opened.
The addition of professional sports to the Olympics has cheapened an event that was once the crown jewel of amateur competition. The Soviet basketball team first violated the spirit of amateurism at the 1972 Olympic Games which started the downhill spiral. Now the world’s biggest professional events have been added and it’s a joke. How bad is this? Let’s compare a few: World Cup vs. Olympic soccer? No contest. Baseball World Series vs Olympic baseball? Already decided. NBA Championship vs USA Dream team destroying every country by 50 points? What a laugher. Wimbledon vs Olympic tennis? You get the picture.
Folks who think Olympic Golf is about growing the game globally are being mislead. Golf is a game played largely in developed countries and will probably remain that way because of market forces. Sure a driving range or course may pop up in Senegal or Ecuador, but those are outliers.
Sometimes you simply need to take action because it’s the right thing to do. I stand in solidarity with Scott, Oostie, Schwartzel, and anyone else who cares to skip Olympic golf. Good for them.