Forget Ryder Cup and Grand Slam of Golf. It's time for Olympic Golf. Then Tiger Woods will be interested and Michelle Wie could actually play
Tiger Woods had an interesting set of quotes today about his 3-2 Ryder Cup record at the American Express Championship. He rated his performance as “pretty darn good” and “I did the best I could". He also said he played well enough to place in the Top 15 of a regular tournament.
Would Tiger be satisfied with doing his “best” in a major or finishing top 15? Of course not. He is apparently satisfied with mediocrity in the Ryder Cup.
It isn’t sparking his interest, and why should it?
I’ve said it before, the Ryder Cup has become obsolete. The format is old fashioned and Europe as a continent is clearly better now than America as a country.
Golf and the Olympics need each other. Olympic interest, especially in the United States, has slumped lately, and the world has gotten better at golf, good enough to have interesting matches from more than just two powerhouses.
It’s a perfect fit, at least better than the following “official” Summer Olympic events:
-Table tennis (does the venue lack space for real tennis?)
-Badminton (We have tennis and volleyball, no need for this country club hybrid)
- Fencing (Charlemange was a long time ago)
-Canoeing/kayaking (sorry Tim McDonald)
Aside from these goofy yet legitimate Olympic sports, golf is simply “recognized” by the Olympic committee, whatever that means.
Any worthy Olympic site surely has an elite golf facility nearby, the host could sell tons of tickets (more than chess, I estimate) with all the gallery space, and it might give the world’s best golfers a less archaic and quirky competition to play for their home country. The Olympic committee would surely come up with a format instituting individual match play, best ball, and team stroke play (something the Ryder Cup should implement). There would be individual and team medals awarded.
Countries not in Europe or America would be able to compete on the grand stage as well. And think about the enormous ratings the women’s tournament would get with Michelle Wie “leading” America (at least according to NBC marketing), the South Korean entourage and Annika Sorenstam carrying Sweden on her back.
Olympic golf would be a chance for Tiger to win a gold medal, something Jack, Gene and Byron never did, which is what drives him more than alternate shot vs. Paul McGinley and Lee Westwood. It would be a chance for pesky Sergio Garcia - or maybe a Cinderella from the Congo to dethrone the world’s most recognizable athlete, and another sport for dorky, over-dramatic Bob Costas to get gushy about.
If Phil Mickelson hasn’t quit golf by 2008, he could play too.
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I think we all know what Tiger would say.
So why ISN'T golf an Olympic venue? What's the hold up?