Featured photo: The men’s Olympic golf tournament proved a success, silencing the doubters who said it wouldn’t. The women’s tournament begins today. Photo: David Doguet
I’m thinking that Rory McIlroy couldn’t resist himself. I’m thinking that McIlory, who not only opted out of playing in the Olympics but said he wouldn’t watch the golf tournament on TV, couldn’t help but sneak a peek last Sunday to see what was going down.
And if the Irishman did tune into his big screen television to watch the tournament on its last day, I’m betting he regretted not playing in the Olympic golf tournament on the fabulous Gil Hanse-designed Olympic Course. I’ll take it as far to say that I bet McIlory wished he was gold medal winner Justin Rose, even just for a moment.
I mean, who wouldn’t?
Who wouldn’t have wanted to experience such joy, not just of winning the gold medal but to have played on the first-ever Olympic Course in 112 years and to have experienced something as awe-inspiring as participating in the Olympics — the games the ancient Greeks invented.
“Olympic champion?” Rose uttered after winning the gold medal. “That has a cool ring to it! The medal ceremony was surreal. I’ve watched many on TV. I never thought I’d be involved in one.”
A lot of people dismissed golf’s return to the Olympics this year for the first time in 112 years. They dissed the 72-hole, stroke-play format, among other things. The fact that the game’s top four players announced that they wouldn’t be attending was downright embarrassing for the Olympics. And then McIlroy threw the Olympics under a double-decker bus when he said he probably wouldn’t watch the golf and only tune into “the stuff that matters,” like track and swimming.
If they were giving out a fool’s gold medal, McIlory would win it.
I’ve got news for you McIlory: The men’s Olympic golf tournament was a success — and it didn’t need you or Jason Day or Jordan Spieth or Dustin Johnson to be so.
Hanse’s design proved nothing short of spectacular. The links-style design had some cool quirks, like the drivable par-4 16th hole. The course showcased Zeon zoysiagrass on its fairways, tees and roughs. The turfgrass, which features low inputs and fine playability, should play a huge role in the future of golf. The seashore paspalum greens were firm, fast and rolled true.
Neil Cleverly, the Olympic Course’s superintendent, and his crew quietly went about their business and maintained the course splendidly. There were no complaints, only commendations.
The good news is there’s more to come — the women’s tournament began this morning.