Should Golf be an Olympic sport?
I stand cold and tired, with my feet in a soggy bunker. I wonder how I managed to shank my 6 previous shots into the lake, losing every one of them. I have had no luck at all. Who on earth would want to play this miserable sport? However, Golf is followed by millions all over the world making it one of the most popular and exciting sports in the world. In accordance to this, people are trying to make it an Olympic sport. I for one am completely against this.
For many years, players, people and committees have debated whether golf should feature in an Olympic games. However, Golf has featured in the Olympics twice before, the most recent being the 1904 games in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, when the United States and Canada were the only two competing countries. It also featured four years before that in the 1900 Paris games. But now, more than a century later golf will be played at the 2016 games held in Rio de Janeiro.
Golf is one of the few sports that have a long heritage, and where the past is still the best. Golf was invented in 15th century Scotland and is still iconic there. St Andrews golf course is one of the oldest golf courses in the world; it was created in 1400 and is still considered one of the most symbolic and one of the best golf courses in the world. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods both rated their Open wins at St Andrews as their greatest achievements in golf. However, it is not just Scotland and St Andrews that is a landmark in golf. The first PGA tournament was held in 1916 and in 1934 the Augusta Masters was created by Bobby Jones, and ever since 1949 a green jacket has been awarded to every year’s winner. This still remains the most famous golfing prize in the world and is the dream of many professional and amateur golfers to win the Masters and to be bracketed with the golfing legends of Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh.
Golfers such as Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh are ones of millions of golfers worldwide and are watched worldwide by millions. It is estimated that there are over 35, 000 golf courses worldwide, each averagely costing between £1.6 million and £4.0 million. You can do the math. Every year the four majors of the golfing world take place. This is the equivalent of the football world cup or the Olympics taking place every year and with an extra one every two years for the Ryder Cup. 3.2 million people watched the Ryder Cup this year on the channel ESPN and 10 million people watched it worldwide. The intense battle of USA and the EU brought record number crowds to the Medinah Country Club to watch a golf match that went down to the last few putts.
However, a popular sport to compare to is football; and golf triumphed over football this year in viewing statistics. 4.5 million people watched the first round of the Masters in April this year, watching Bubba Watson break down into tears as he was presented with the Green Jacket. Although, compared to that high number, only 2.4 million people tuned in to watch the whole of both the men’s and women’s Olympic football tournaments.
Over the years football has failed as an Olympic sport and has disappointed many. We have seen little crowds, unexpected results and senseless rules being added. For example, in 1984, it was said that only players who had not competed in the EURO were allowed to play. Then in 1992 another rule was introduced. Only players under the age of 23 were allowed to play, thus limiting each nation’s squads significantly. These changes have consequently resulted in freak results and disappointing tournaments. In Atlanta’s 1996 games Nigeria triumphed over Argentina to win gold, this result shocked the world as Nigeria only managed to reach round 16 in the 1994 FIFA world cup. Then in Sydney in 2000, Spain lost to Cameroon, an African nation that didn’t even manage to make it past the group stages in the 1998 world cup. Finally, this summer at the London 2012