Inside Golf : Inside Golf August 2016
20 August 2016 | www.insidegolf.com.au cover story David Newber y firstname.lastname@example.org Top players puT biTe on olympics W ITH or without golf ’s elite players, golf will feature for just the third time at the Olympic Games after showcasing at Paris in 1900 and St Louis, USA in 1904. Our sport has been waiting 112 years for this moment, yet some players haven’t been able to generate an ounce of enthusiasm for winning an Olympic gold medal. “It’s nothing I’ve ever aspired to do and I don’t think I ever will,” Adam Scott said. Soon after Scott’s announcement to withdraw, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, Graham McDowell, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Vijay Singh pulled the pin. Most decided not to risk playing if there was a chance Zika-virus-carrying mozzies would be around to put the bite on them. Fair enough, perhaps. Mind you, Jaco Van Zyl – South Africa’s highest-ranked player following the withdrawal of Oosthuizen, Grace and Schwartzel – did the unthinkable. He gave up his spot in the Open Championship and the US PGA Championship to prepare for the Olympics at Rio’s Reserva de Marapendi course. He wants to be mentally and physically ready for the Olympics. “ To me, the Olympics is the pinnacle of all sporting events and to have the chance to represent Team South Africa on sports’ biggest stage is an honour I don’t take for granted,” he told journalist Lali Stander. “I need to go to Brazil with the rest of the South African team knowing that I am in peak mental and physical health. “ The majors will still be there next year, but I don’t know if I will get another chance in 2020.” For players like McIlroy, golf is all about the majors. “I’ve said I have four Olympic Games (major championships) a year,” McIlroy said. “ That’s my pinnacle. That’s what I play for. That’s what I’ll be remembered for. “I don’t think it’s embarrassing for the game because most other athletes dream their whole lives of competing in the Olympics, winning an Olympic gold and we haven’t. We dream of winning Claret Jugs and green jackets.” I am sure whoever takes home the gold medal will cherish the moment, but I wonder what the reigning Olympic golf champion Canadian George Lyon would have made of the players who have decided to stay at home. He won gold in 1904 at the age of 46 after taking up the game at 38. From all reports, he was a colourful character. When Lyon was announced the winner, he did a handstand and, amid applause and laughter, walked on his hands to the podium to collect his prize. Lyon was also one of Canada’s most amazing athletes. At 18, he set a Canadian record in the pole vault. He was a skilled baseball, rugby and soccer player and an excellent curler and lawn bowler. He represented Canada at cricket and once scored 238 not out for his club. olympic GolF HisTory In 1900, 22 golfers competed in the Olympic golf tournament including 10 women and 12 men. Charles Sands won gold for the US and Walter Rutherfod and David Robertson (both Great Britain) won silver and bronze respectively. For the women, it was a U.S. clean sweep with Margaret Abbot taking gold, Pauline Whittier silver and Daria Pratt bronze. The 1904 tournament featured 77 golfers, all men. The women’s event was cancelled due to lack of participation. Canada’s George Lyon won gold, American Chandler Egan took the silver and Burt McKinnie and Francis Newton, both U.S., received the bronze. In the teams’ competition, the USA completed a clean sweep – gold, silver and bronze. THe 2016 FormaT Sixty players will compete over 72 holes of stroke play in both the men’s and women’s events. Men compete from August 11-14, while the women’s event is from August 17-20. In the event of a tie for any of the first three positions, a three-hole playoff will determine the medal winners. There is an additional incentive for gold medallists this year with the men’s winner receiving automatic qualification to all of the major championships in 2017 while the women’s champion will qualify for the 2016 Evian Championship and the Women’s PGA Championship, the US Women’s Open and Women’s British Open in 2017.
IG July 2016
IG Sept 2016