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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 207
That unbridled passion for the competition from the game’s elite meant that while most of us had previously thought Olympic golf was (rightly or wrongly) doomed after 2020, the tournament became an undeniable success and proved it has a lifespan beyond Tokyo. But right off the bat, most would agree that the format could use some work. Some outlets have argued that given strokeplay decides the winner at the overwhelming majority of tournaments throughout the world, it should also determine who takes home Olympic gold. But it’s not the format of choice at the events that truly invoke the kind of patriotism we saw from Rose after he holed that final short putt on Sunday. At the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Seve Trophy, both team play and individual excellence are included and rewarded in equal measure, and the switch to a team-based format is something that should be high on the agenda when the IOC meets to discuss Tokyo. Based on the player buy-in from this week’s competitors, both male and female, it would also be a shock if there wasn’t a considerable uptick in the number of top players putting their hands up to don their national colours in four years time. Being in clean, modern Tokyo will help, of course, and the Japanese organisers would do well to adopt many of the more successful aspects of Brazil’s Games blueprint. For all its faults, Rio nailed the player experience, with both competitors and caddies gushing about the way in which they were welcomed, putting their treatment alongside (or above) the very best hospitality they enjoy at tournaments on the PGA and European tours. The selection of the course will also be critical in future years. Rio’s Olympic Golf Course was simply exceptional, with low scores a possibility if players were hot, while the clever design and potential for drama ensured a watchable event right up until the 72nd hole. It’s 13 months until the International Olympic Committee meets to vote on whether golf will be a part of the 2024 Games, and whether it has a permanent place within the Olympic movement. Was this one perfect? No. But were there green shoots of growth that could flourish in Tokyo in four years time? Absolutely. On the evidence from Rio, the future looks bright. E BASED ON THE PLAYER BUY- IN THIS TIME IT WOULD BE A SHOCK IF THERE WASN’T A CONSIDERABLY GREATER NUMBER OF TOP PLAYERS WITH THEIR HANDS UP IN FOUR YEARS TIME.
GA Express 206
GA Express 208