This week’s blog is about golf in the Olympic games and why this year is an important year for golfing fans. The last time that golf was held at the Olympic games was all the way back in 1904 at the games in St. Louis. The Olympic games is an amazing sporting event and one that gives us all the chance to come together with the rest of our country and support our hard-working athletes in all of the different sports and hope that we gain a few gold medals!
At the 1904 Olympic games only men competed both in the individuals’ competition and the team one. This year, the women are taking to the tees to show how the game of golf has developed over the last 112 years and become more inclusive. Although the last time golf was played at the Olympic games it was Canada and the USA that stole the show, there are some glimmers of hope that Team GB will be bringing back some medals both from the men and the women playing…
Team GB will be sending up to four golfers which is based on the world rankings from the 11th of July and only the top 60 women and the top 60 men are allowed to qualify. We have already seen many top players pull out from different teams for various reasons from being scared of coming into contact with the Zika virus to having a schedule which won’t allow playing in the Olympic games this August. Although many of the top ranked male golfers like Jordan Speith, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy have said that they won’t be participating in the games this August it is important for us to concentrate on Team GB’s fantastic team and come together to support those golfers who are going.
Although in the 1900 summer Olympic games in Paris women did take part there was little to no focus placed upon their event and it was sadly overlooked. This summer is a great opportunity for some of the best women golfers to show their skills and get a chance to be a huge part of a big golfing event. Far fewer women have pulled out of the golf events at the games this summer than men and we are sure that it is because they recognise that this is a chance for the women in golf to prove that they are as good at the sport as any man is! Some of the top women that are going to be competing at the games are inspiring, talented and motivated individuals who deserve their chance to excel in their sport at a worldwide event which is so widely broadcast. Lydia Ko is only 19 years old and is the youngest person ever to achieve the world’s number one ranking and although she is not Team GB, we have to admit that to see her win a medal would be absolutely brilliant.
Team Great Britain is made up of Justin Rose, Danny Willett, Catriona Matthew and Charley Hull. Rose has won 15 PGA and European Tours and was a strong part of both the 2012 and the 2014 winning Ryder Cup team and ranks at 12th in the world rankings so it a strong contender for a medal this summer. Danny Willett won The Masters at Augusta earlier this year which really placed him on the map in terms of his golfing career and is currently ranked at number 9 in the world, we definitely hope that his success at Augusta set precedent for how the Olympic games are going to go for him this summer!
The women in Team GB are also definitely ones to watch with Catriona Matthew and Charley Hull who have both competed this year twice already in the Women’s British Open and the US Women’s Open. Matthew has won four LPGA Tours as well as six Ladies European Tour’s whilst Hull has only been a professional for three years and already has a European Tour victory to her name. Both women are ranked highly and are definitely two ladies to watch this August to see if they can bring home a medal or two for the first time for Team Great Britain since 1900!
The Olympic golf course is an open, links-style course and was designed by the American Gil Hanse who has also designed The Country Club in Massachusetts which is set to host the 2022 US Open. The course has a par of 71 and a total length of 6522m for the men’s competition and 5944m for the women’s competition. Each of the 60 players that will be competing will play all 18 holes and they will be scored on their stroke value. There was a test run on the course a few weeks ago and those who played definitely seemed to be impressed with the condition, scenery and the layout of the course, so impressed in fact that the only thing they had to criticise was the fact that there was too much sand in the bunkers! Let’s hope our golfers stay out of the bunkers then!
The course will be open for public play once the Olympic games are over which is sure to attract many keen golfers to Rio next year and beyond that as it is not every day you will get the chance to play in the footsteps of some of the top world-ranked athletes.
There has been so much controversy about whether golf has a ‘place’ at the Olympics and we only have a couple more weeks to wait to find out whether the golfing event at these summer games will be a roaring success or whether the committee will decide to remove the sport from the Olympic games for another 112 years…