Olympian Week: why no Olympics competition for golf? | Bleader

Olympian Week: why no Olympics competition for golf?

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Good enough for gold?
  • Good enough for gold?
While struggling through a round of golf this weekend, I wondered: why isn't golf an Olympic sport?

It turns out that at one time golf was Olympian, in 1900 in Paris and 1904 in Saint Louis (those games both coincided with world's fairs in those cities). In 1904 Canadian George Lyon won the gold medal over Chicagoan Henry C. Egan. In the 1904 games the United States and Canada were the only competitors in golf. Maybe that's why it was dropped. Not international enough.

It also turns out that golf will be reinstated as an Olympic sport for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. (What's "fore!" in Portuguese?)

It doesn't seem as if there are many world-class golf courses near Rio. (The Rio Games site helpfully describes the game of golf as such: "The athletes compete individually on grass fields that have different configurations. There are varied Golf courses leading to holes with orange-size diameter. The goal is to roll the ball into the hole with the fewer number of strikes as possible.")

Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics. The city lost the bid, but there's no shortage of great golf courses in the area.

But if the Olympics can have beach volleyball, which is just an offshoot of regular volleyball, why can't the games have offshoots of golf? There should be a subcategory for who can hit the damn ball the farthest, forget about staying in the fairways. (Just as practical as the hammer throw.) Also: putting. That's challenging enough to be a single event on its own merits. Chipping? Why not? That has its own skill set too.

If the games ever do end up in Chicago, may I suggest the eighth hole of the Robert A. Black public course for the putting competition? I once made an amazing downhill putt over a couple swells in that green. It was as good as gold.

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