Say what you will – even if you managed to overcome the never-ending, needless barrage of genuflecting about the Olympics you were force fed on television – golf’s inclusion in Rio was enough of a success that it has a good chance to remain in the Summer Games beyond 2020 in Tokyo.
But it was because of what happened on the golf course, not what you heard over the airwaves. It’s certain that announcers had strict instructions to romance Olympic golf but it reached a point that now we know what propaganda must sound like.
Nick Faldo was asked on air if putting for a gold medal would be better than holing a putt for a major championship and the six-time major winner, with a mostly straight face, said he’d opt for gold. Do you think he really believes that?
On the course, a gem designed by Gil Hanse with a bit of help from Amy Alcott, the best players won medals. There were no flukes, no surprises on the final day. Even though only eight of the top 20 players in the world were in the 60-man field, the medal winners were deserving enough that no one could doubt that golf performed more than admirably.
Even so, golf’s first run in the Games in 112 years could have been thought through a little more carefully. Despite the outcome, a 72-hole stroke-play event is not the most compelling. Most people agree that a team element is entirely necessary and that match play has much more potential.
But for what it had to work with, Olympic golf should be praised. Just not so incessantly or so loudly.