The likes of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have received plenty of criticism for choosing not to travel to Rio.

The bigger picture, as I saw it, was the opportunity the Olympics offered to showcase our great game to an audience of billions, the majority of whom had never have seen it before, let alone been on a golf course.

In theory, we now reap the rewards when thousands of them who like what they saw want to try the game for themselves.

With that in mind, you might have thought the sport as a whole would have recognised that this goal was worth some short-term inconvenience. Sadly, with so many stakeholders, that has not proved to be the case.

OlympicsI wonder how many withdrawals there would have been had the entire summer calendar been amended with the end result that the Open was done and dusted by the end of June.

If the European and PGA Tours had closed down for a month by mid-July. If the Fed-Ex Cup had been mothballed for a year.

If the Ryder Cup teams had already been finalised. If three or four events on both tours had accepted there would be no 2016 instalment.

I realise how unrealistic all of this is, and that is the point I am making. The reward would have been a huge build up to the Olympics, a very clear signal to the players that it was the main event of the year (or at least a fifth Major) and we would have shown the world golf at its very best.

Albeit the format was still  not exactly the most engaging to someone watching golf for the first time, but that’s another story.

So, blame Rory, Jason and Jordan if you choose. But also understand that the players aren’t the only ones failing to appreciate the bigger picture.

Henrik Stenson won the Open in quite ridiculous fashion. To shoot -20 on a course that most of the field couldn’t break par on is a feat beyond the ordinary.
Olympics

Some perspective: when Tiger Woods won at St Andrews in 2000 with a -19 total, he was one of 51 players to break par. At Troon, there were only 17.

Stenson played a different game to all apart from Phil Mickelson, who can count himself so unlucky to have finished second to an unstoppable force.

Dan Murphy

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