x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Golf: Few fans care if golf has a place at the Olympic Games

All the news coming out of Brazil about the new Olympic golf course is falling on deaf ears in the golf community, writes Steve Elling.

Rory McIlroy and golf fans alike do not include the Olympic Games as the top tournaments around. Pawan Singh / The National
Rory McIlroy and golf fans alike do not include the Olympic Games as the top tournaments around. Pawan Singh / The National

The proposed golf course for the 2016 Olympic Games is back in the news, again.

After delays and false starts too numerous to mention, thanks to lawsuits and red tape that, at times, left the project's future in doubt, Olympics officials this week offered assurances that the project will proceed as planned, three years hence.

To which we say, quem se importa?

In Portuguese, that means, "Who cares?"

It's become increasingly hard to be bothered by whether players will compete on a new Gil Hanse design or the local dog track. As the Games systematically add and delete sports to the medal roster - one of the oldest sports in human history, wrestling, is set to be jettisoned in 2020 - golf's place at the table becomes less laudable.

Just as with tennis, the Olympics will never rank with the grand slams in terms of personal achievement.

Sure, Scottish hero Andy Murray won OIympic gold last year in London, playing at Wimbledon in front of his UK fans, but he would never trade it for the US Open trophy won a few weeks later.

So the ceaseless political histrionics about the Olympic course project outside Rio has become annoying white noise to many, just more blather to be ignored for a game whose inclusion as a medal sport was contentious to begin with.

In golf, brass trophies will always mean more than bronze medals.

Wake me when it's over.

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