Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, and Jordan Spieth – that’s one hell of a leaderboard. You get all those guys to tee it up in a single tournament and that’s a really good thing.
Too bad it’s actually a list of golfers just pulled out of one. A big one. The Olympic tournament.
Spieth is the latest to withdraw, saying earlier today that it was “the hardest decision of my young life.” Really? Skipping Rio was a hard decision? Ok. Because from where I’m sitting, it seems one of the easier ones you’re ever going to make.
Safe to assume, most professional athletes aren’t stepping off a curb unless there are stacks and stacks underneath it. Especially golfers.
For who? For what? Country. If the Americans really cared about playing for country, they would constantly get rolled in Ryder Cup play.
If you’re going pros and cons, in the cons category you’ve got: Zika, criminals robbing Paralympic athletes in broad daylight at gunpoint, sewage-infested waters, body parts washing up on beaches, unfinished venues, and emergency workers at the airport with a “Welcome To Hell” banner.
In the pros category, there’s, well,… a chance to win a medal.
Remember how pumped the Olympics and the leaders of golf were when it was announced the sport would be back after 112 years? Remember when Jacques Rogge head of the IOC said back in 2009 that all the top golfers “will find they are all excited about it — and they will be present.” You got that one wrong, Jacques.
Because you can’t find them now. The top four players, and five of the top ten, aren’t going. They aren’t shot-putters or hammer-throwers for whom this is dream of a lifetime. One that you’d walk through hell to fulfill. They’re golfers. They don’t grow up dreaming of gold medals, they grow up dreaming of green jackets and fat checks. And because there isn’t one; that’s why they’re not coming.
Well, that, and disease, crime, and a host city that is no way prepared for what’s about to go down. Oh, and there’s no prizes money.
And not only is Rory not going, he’s not even going to bother watching it: “I’ll watch the Olympics, but probably not golf. I’ll watch track and field, swimming, diving — you know, ones that matter.”
Awesome idea, dropping golf in the Olympics. Except that guys don’t want to play or watch the event at all.
Then again, can you blame them? Rhythmic gymnastics is more of an Olympic sport than golf is. Especially if you’re going to run it like just another four-day, 72-hole tournament. Way to really get creative on that. Maybe you’d have more guys interested if it was a team event. Or if it wasn’t rammed into the busy calendar of a Ryder Cup year. Or if there wasn’t the risk of life-altering mosquitos.
The shock isn’t that all these guys are pulling out; it’s that any of them said yes in the first place.
This post brought to you by Jim Rome.