Olympic golf is a farce. Olympic golf is a joke. And yet we are going to be forced to watch Olympic golf this year instead of Olympic softball.
If you remember, back in 2005 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to drop baseball and softball for the 2012 London Games, and in their place the IOC added golf and rugby.
I'm sure the members of the IOC thought this would be a great way get cozy with famous pro golfers like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, but it has not worked out that way. The best golfers in the game are excusing themselves from the 2016 Rio Games in droves and, after looking at some of the facts surrounding Olympic golf, the sad situation is, it makes sense.
Simply stated, money talks. Pro golfers are paid--quite handsomely in fact--whereas most Olympians earn nothing for their efforts. A trip to Rio would mean missing the John Deere Classic in Illinois with its $4.8 million grand prize. And after the Olympics, players would need to race back to North Carolina to compete in the Wyndham Championship with its $5.4 million grand prize.
As a matter of fact, golf is already an international event almost every weekend of the summer--all the best golfers in the world already compete in a flagship series of annual tournaments known as the PGA Tour. And there is already an Olympic-style event called the Ryder Cup, where golfers compete on teams divided by country.
The Olympics is supposed to be the ultimate international event, but the Olympics will be no different than any of the four golf majors that happen every year.
So it's no surprise that big name pro golfers are fleeing the Olympics like a sweet drive down the fairway. The top four in the golf world--Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIllroy--have all dropped out. Many golfers are citing concerns over Zika virus, but most media pundits believe that is just a convenient excuse to skip playing for no pay, so they can rest up and focus on events that actually earn them some cash.
Olympic golf is a farce, and this farce is part of the reason why softball is not in the Olympics this year. Olympic softball had all of the best athletes in the world lining up to play for it, while Olympic golf has only second-tier no-name players.