Olympic Golf is Good, But It Could Be Better

Pedro Pascal’s Wonder Woman 1984 tagline aside, the title rings true. This week, watching golf at Kasumigaseki’s famed East course has been a fun endevour we rarely get to experience. Part of the joy of the Olympics is the festivities only come around once every four years, dragging along the feeling of “glorious purpose.”

And yet, even if the viewing experience has been fun, it still feels like a let down. Perhaps it is the usual-Fazio butcher fest of a charming old-world golf course. Yes, Kasumigaseki is still epic, and yes, still highly ranked. Tom Fazio has numerous golf courses stateside that looks like Kasumigaseki; I would prefer the old version with Alison’s bunkers. For those who prefer the old: Kasumigaseki will be dumping their $15,000,000 Fazio renovation down the drain following Japan 2020’s games and restoring the golf courses.

Photo credit: PGA Tour.

Perhaps the reason for the event falling slightly short for the second playing in a row is the lack of passion. The PGA Tour plays stroke play week-in, week-out (minus a few outliars), so the thought of another 72 hole individual stroke play championship is a bit of a bore. The NCAA Championship is fun because of the school pride; The Ryder Cup is excellent for patriotism and the team componant.

Mixed Team Event

A mixed team event, with men & women competing together against the field for an Olympic Medal would be ideal. For Canada, having Corey Conners, Brooke Henderson, Mackenzie Hughes, and Alena Sharp competing together, working towards a common goal of winning a medal for Canada would be a much more compelling event than four individuals going to battle on their own.

Now imagine if this was an actual team and not four individuals!

Given the status of the event and the quality of golf, the formats are endless. First two days two-person alternate shot, followed by the final two days being four combined scores? Best ball? Four days of all scores counting? Or perhaps a NCAA style format where three of the four scores count, or a similar variation. Getting the team aspect provides a new dynamic to the event. I am able to watch stroke play at the Sanderson’s Farm Championship or the John Deer Classic. Us as fans want to see something unique and fun that puts everyone together (united as a country/team) against other countries.

The rarity of team events provides a unique dyanmic rarely seen in golf. The Solhiem & Ryder Cups come around every couple years and provide endless drama given the formats. Let’s revamp golf in the Olympics to provide the same interest we see in other team events.

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