I guess with the games underway, it’s my duty as a golf blogger to touch on this.
For the first time in 112 years, golf was played in the Olympics yesterday. Come the 20th, six medals will be awarded to 3 men and 3 women who will be perpetually etched into the history books. Time will see if they get that Tin Cup immortality as well. One thing is for sure: whoever wins will be hearing “Olympic [gold/silver/bronze] medalist…” in their tee introductions for the rest of their career.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how interested I was going to be. I knew I was going to watch because…well…it’s golf. But my view on the Olympics as a whole is amused at best, cynical at worst.
That being said, before delving into my topic, I would recommend any golf fan to keep up with the action these next couple weekends. After the first day, there’s a palpable difference in atmosphere between this competition and any others (majors and cups included). The course layout is very interesting too. I’ve already seen a few unique attitudes and approaches amongst the golfers. Go watch, then swing back to comment with what you think.
Now on to my piece.
So there is much I could discuss about the validity of golf being in the Olympics.
- “Is golf a sport?” Maybe. Maybe not. All I know is that there are dancing horses in the Olympics.
- “Olympics is supposed to be for amateurs, not millionaire professionals.” That is the spirit of it. I do feel for teams like Nigeria. Yet we’ve had a few hundred “Dream Teams” in basketball.
- “Golf is already competed and measured at an international level.” ……soccer
And SO much more. And I do have my opinions on all of it that I will unabashedly share if asked. But it would take me quite a long time to type it all out (and I have a Battle to help plan) so instead, I’ll share a little story I recently read.
The four men representing the US in the Olympics (Fowler, Watson, Kuchar, and Reed) are choosing to stay in the Olympic village. With their paychecks, they could easily opt to get a nice hotel room instead of the infamous dorms. But they, along with many other top paid golfers like Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer, are delving in to the full Olympic experience. They are staying with their fellow countrymen and women. Meals are at the cafeteria with the athletes from around the world. Off time is spent hanging out with other athletes, picking their brains and sharing their own experiences.
Golfers, for all the stuffy pre-conceived notions about them, are choosing to contribute whole heartedly to the mixing pot that the Olympics should be. And that’s fantastic. Fantastic for the Olympics. Fantastic for the game of golf.
Golf is still trying to shake its history of elitism and exclusion. What many don’t know is that over the last couple decades, golf has become a tool of advocacy. The message is now that of integrity, peace, and inclusion. It has spread to the inner cities and lesser developed countries. Most importantly, it has spread to children of all classes. By publically embracing the spirit of the Olympics (realities aside), these golfers are further spreading that message.
In Hawaii, that is certainly a message we can get behind. Our islands are already a melting pot. Chop Suey. Poi Bowl. Whatever you wish to call it. Our islands are also home to so many golf courses. Heck, Ewa Beach alone has around 7 (depending on where you draw the line). So knowing that the spirit of our islands and the identity of this game share a vin diagram overlap is comforting. It certainly keeps me going in this industry.
I guess my conclusion is this then: whatever I may think about golf being in the Olympics, and whatever I think about the Olympics itself, I appreciate what many of the representatives the golf community sent for this inaugural year are doing. Keep it up men and women!