I’ll be honest, I was skeptical about golf in the Olympics. I wasn’t always sure what to think about it, or how it would go over. When marquee players were lining up to announce they wouldn’t be participating, I had mixed emotions from disappointment to complete understanding to not really caring that much. Unlike The Masters or the Ryder Cup, Olympic Golf wasn’t circled on my calendar this year.
Then, the Olympics started. The opening ceremonies kicked off and, as dull as they can be at times, I started to get excited. I put myself in the shoes of those athletes wielding their country’s flag and it gave me goosebumps. What I would do to have that opportunity.
Then the events started. Events we rarely, or never get to see on television on a regular basis — it was captivating. The swimming, diving, beach volleyball, table tennis, rowing, and the list goes on. I was into it. With the Summer Olympics being held only every 4 years, I almost forgot how much I get into them. This may explain part of my complacency over golf being included this year. I was removed from how exciting and unique the Olympics are.
Michael Phelps was making history with more gold medals and it dawned on me — how cool is it that there are golfers there, watching this swimmer win a gold medal, and then they’ll have a chance to win the EXACT same thing in their respective sport. Different athletes from different sports with the exact same goal — to bring home the Gold. Now golfers have that opportunity to share a spot in history with thousands of athletes from other sports.
This can only be a positive step for golf. Golf is a worthy Olympic sport and as anyone who has tried to play the sport can attest, it takes a great deal of skill, athleticism, and mental strength to perform at a high level. It deserves to be added to this stage.
Whether you believe golf in the Olympics will “grow the game” globally or not, I don’t really care, nor could I even tell you with certainty if I believed you were right or wrong. What I do know for sure is that golf in the Olympics is pretty damn cool. The chance to play for your country, the unique opportunity to stand on a podium and receive an Olympic medal while your national anthem plays, the chance to be showcased on the world stage and join the fraternity of athletes striving towards the same goal — wow, I’m getting goosebumps again.
For those who passed on the opportunity to play golf in Rio this year, it’s a long 4 years for that opportunity to come around again. An opportunity that will only build in meaning and importance as the years go by.
Happy golfing (and watching The Olympics!)