Steve Carroll: Zika. A busy schedule. Players who just don’t fancy it. Has any sport had a rockier ride back to the Olympics than golf?
The top 4 in the men’s game aren’t turning up but the period for recriminations is at an end. It’s time to watch the birdie blitz.
If you drown out the rows, and the excuses from the likes of Spieth, Johnson, Day and all, golf still has a tremendous opportunity in Rio – despite the controversy.
For a start, we can all tune in.
If you don’t have Sky, and let’s be honest a lot of the country still don’t, this is a chance to watch some proper action on the box given the Open has migrated to satellite.
With upwards of 4 billion people set to tune in to the Olympics at some stage, golf will be beamed into the homes of people who have never watched a single hole in their lives.
Rory McIlroy won’t be watching, but will you?
Dan Murphy: The honest truth is that I used to give more thought to the ill-fated WGC World Cup. France often used to do better than expected for some reason. It may well be, and I hope it is the case, that once the golf gets underway it is an amazing event that captures the imagination.
I’ll certainly be paying close attention. The question is, will the billions of Olympic viewers who have never played golf be watching and if so will it inspire them into giving it a try themselves? That’s all that really matters.
James Savage: I will be watching. I’d watch golf on television under any other circumstances so don’t know why the Olympics would be different?
How much I enjoy and get into it remains to be seen.
The last thing golf needs is more 72-hole stroke play events. It still baffles me that this is the format.
As it gets towards Sunday afternoon and the medals are in sight, I think there will be a fair amount of interest.
Can’t see anyone getting too giddy about the opening rounds.
Mark Townsend: The timings are good as you can watch it on the Beeb website so I’ll be watching an awful lot on Thursday and Friday.
I find it harder to get excited as I don’t know any of the holes but once it gets going and I win some money on Patrick Reed picking up a gold medal then all will be fine.
Aside from Rickie Fowler’s new haircut there are some nice stories emerging from Rio and getting golfers out of their hotel-range-course-restaurant-hotel-range-course regime.
Bubba Watson didn’t know what the Louvre was five years ago, now he’s up for watching different events every night this week. It needs an exciting finish and a big-name winner.
JS: I’m not sure it needs a big-name winner.
I think it will be better if someone no one has heard of wins as that’s a better story.
Just imagine the elation on Galvin Green (yes that is his name) of Malaysia’s face as he holes the putt to take gold.
If we want more people to take an interest, it needs a story like that. The best player in the field winning won’t cause the non-golf fan to sit up and take notice.
SC: I’m not sure about that. I think a no-name winner adds further fuel to the fire of critics who’ll say they’ve only won because the big guns didn’t turn up.
JS: Two major winners from this year, a double Masters champion, a US Open and PGA winner and a US Open champion.
I think the field is decent enough for a player outside the top 500 winning to make headlines.
Tom Lenton: It’s just the 100M final for me. The rest is just by chance as and when.
SC: That’s at 2.30am, Tom.
Jamie Millar: Doubt I’ll be watching much of the golf, which is the same as the football.
The best athletes aren’t there for it and, with the range of sports I can watch where the medal means much more to the sport than it does to golf and football, I’d rather watch them.
Joe Urquhart: I’ll be watching it purely because I am being paid to watch it. I probably wouldn’t have bothered if not.
Will Shucksmith: Beach volleyball and the athletics.
MT: And the men’s 4x400m, as long as Todd Bennett is still running.
It is hard, sports you take no notice of from four years to the next four years come along, you are an expert for two days and then you have no idea.
For all the talk of matchplay or a team event over medal that probably wouldn’t get them going nuts in the favelas and beyond.
Tom Irwin: I am not sure it matters if I am watching.
I will look out for the results and watch when I can. I don’t really ‘watch’ golf, 95% of it is incredibly tedious and the last 30 minutes of any Sunday normally covers what you need to know.
What is important this week is that people who have not seen golf before in any form get a chance to watch it, and are compelled to go and give it at a try.
Rose wins and hopefully someone will score in the 100s.
- The niggle: Hybrid or long iron?
- The niggle: rakes and bunkers – in or out?
- The niggle: Does it matter if you wear a cap in the clubhouse
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?