Olympic golf has joined the specter of sports that have been added to the games and simultaneously de-emphasized as “must see”. I am not watching. There are two common themes at play with sports like Olympic golf:
- The world’s best athletes are not competing
- The “sport” is really an activity or hobby
Now, before you start ragging on me because surfing, skateboarding, or canoeing is not a sport, consider that you can compete at anything, but just because there is competition doesn’t mean it qualifies as Olympic. The Olympics should be reserved for sports where the world’s best compete every four years. What I’m watching is swimming, gymnastics, track and field in the summer, downhill skiing, figure skating, luge, and bobsled in the winter. There are a few others.
Of our two themes, Olympic golf falls into the first. The size of the field and the depth of talent are considerably less than a standard PGA Tour event, and slightly more than a silly season exhibition. Must-see? The events that matter for golf are the four majors, Ryder Cup, and regular tour events. Other sports that fall into this category: tennis, soccer, basketball, softball, baseball (in the past), and hockey in the winter games. Of these only Olympic hockey gets my patriotic juices flowing enough to watch. Olympics vs. Wimbledon? Olympics vs World Cup? Olympics vs. Final Four? No thanks.
Are you watching Olympic golf?