Golf was added back into the Summer Olympic games in Rio this year for the first time since 1904. The last time golf was played in the Olympics there were only two competing countries, the United States and Canada. Golf was added back to the Summer games after it was recommended at a 2009 International Olympic Committee meeting.
The games this summer featured both men’s and women’s individual events. The outlook for golf’s return was a little rocky at first. Players were dropping out of the games due to Zika concerns. There were other concerns about the qualifications for players to compete. Only four golfers per nation would qualify, and the top 15 players of each gender.
Concerns also centered around the fact that only pros of the sport would be chosen to compete, using current rankings. People believed that by taking players based on their current worldwide rankings, there was no chance for an upset and a new golf star to emerge. But surprisingly this isn’t what happened.
How It Went
With most pro players sitting the games out, it was the perfect opportunity for a new golf star to appear. Two individuals, who were virtually unknown prior to the games, took gold. Justin Rose, of Great Britain, and Inbee Park, of South Korea, triumphed in these games.
This solidified golf’s position in future Olympic games. It showed that summer Olympics golf was important moving forward and that younger, non-traditional players could one day become proficient players, and some day go on to win a gold medal. The whole world tuned into watch golf, something that had not previously happened on such a wide scale.
Golf’s return to the Olympics saw some new gear on the course. One player, Bubba Watson, brought an experimental aircraft as his golf caddy. It was a jetpack golf caddy. We also saw a surge in electric golf caddy use at the games. Most younger players use electric golf carts, and play a walking game of golf, rather than using a traditional golf cart.
The return of golf to the Summer Olympic 2016 games saw success. Golf reached an audience that it may never have reached before if the whole world hadn’t been watching. It saw some new heroes in competition, when ranking and eligibility got confusing for players participating and when pros dropped out of the games. It showed a younger interest in the game which is crucial to golf’s future. It showed us some new gadgets, and not so new technology, like electric golf caddies. It appears that golf is here to stay in the Olympic Games.