Feb 7th, 2016
Sir Matthew Pinsent
The Olympics is special – golfers get on board
Words: John Dean Photography: Getty Images
We all know that golf is coming back to the Olympics in Rio after a break of 108 years. Yet we don’t feel that golf, at least at a professional level, has really embraced this development. And this pisses us right off.
Forget Adam Scott, and even Rory saying he would prefer a Masters green jacket rather than an Olympic medal – we get that. We think the Olympic malaise lies a bit deeper. And boy is it frustrating.
Pro golfers are in danger of looking like a bunch of spoilt brats, and their failure to properly embrace the Olympics is so terribly short sighted, and could be another missed opportunity for golf – own goal number 385 if you like.
There are just too many mixed messages coming out, and no sense of ‘blimey, we’re back in, let’s make the most of this for the betterment of golf.’
One man who knows the thrill of the Olympics is Sir Matthew Pinsent, who is also a serious golf nut. He’s got four gold medals, so he knows what he’s talking about.
Speaking during the Abu Dhabi Invitational at Yas Links, Pinsent spoke about what it means to take part in an Olympic games as an athlete.
“It’s very special being part of something that is bigger than your sport in its totality and that’s really what the Olympics is about.”
Yes, yes, yes! Wakey, wakey golf.
At least Thorbjorn Olesen seems to get it: “You grew up watching the Olympics and watching people win Gold medals,” he said. “To be standing there with one of them would be pretty awesome so it’s definitely something I would love to achieve.”
The 2015 Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy believes that golf’s return to the Olympics will provide a platform for the game to be viewed by a wider sporting audience.
“It put’s our sport on a bigger stage,” he commented. “People who do not necessarily watch golf are going to watch it because it’s in the Olympics. To broadcast golf to a wider to a wider audience, I think it is going to be fantastic.”
Paul McGinley will be one of Team Ireland’s leaders at this summer’s games, also believes that golf must embrace the opportunity to promote the game on a global stage.
“It’s important, we want to grow the game. We’ve got a chance to participate in the biggest event in sport, the Olympics. It’s important we embrace that as a sport, men’s and ladies so we can help promote and grow the game.”
So let’s get properly excited about golf at the Olympics. This sense of churlishness around the edges just isn’t helping. The very fact that the likes of McGinley still has to make the case for golf being in the Olympics to his peers says it all. We shouldn't even be having to have this conversation.