Ever since golf
was reinstated to the Olympic programme for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro,
there has been a niggling doubt in the back of organisers' minds. Where on
earth will they play the golf tournament?
Rio is the world's
ultimate beachside city, you see, but its attractive residents are far too busy
taking part in seemingly daily street carnivals, downing exotic cocktails and making love by
moonlight on the Copacabana to bother with a silly game like golf.
So as soon
as the Brazilian party capital won the rights to host the Games, BM knew there would be stiff competition
to design the new course for the Games.
Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam have very kindly agreed to waive their usually
enormous course design fees should they be accorded the honour of getting the
commission, while similarly-retired, but slightly younger stars Greg Norman and
Lorena Ochoa have also thrown their hats into the ring for a joint design.
But for BM's
money, Nick Faldo has come up with the cleverest idea: he's spent the last few
weeks trying to push his plans to get 18 Major champions to each design a hole,
with uber-architect Tom Fazio already keen to oversee the whole thing.
blasted the idea initially: "a logistical nightmare", he called it,
and he's absolutely right given the sizes of the egos that would be involved -
not least those of Norman and Faldo themselves, of course.
idea would bring in the likes of Tiger Woods and Ernie Els - who is on board
with the plan - as well as all the aforementioned stars and other luminaries of
the game such as Gary Player and Arnold Palmer.
good, right? There's just one problem: according to a report by CNN a few days
ago, there's a huge dispute over the ownership of the attractive ocean-side site
for the course.
sign of things getting ironed out yet, but until they know they can build a
course on the site they can't pick an architect. And with championship courses generally
needing several years to bed in before they're ready to host large scale
tournaments with tens of thousands of spectators, Olympic golf could find
itself back off the programme after all.
Irony of the Week
reason the IOC welcomed golf into the Olympic fold was to ensure the presence of
the man who was then the world's famous athlete, Tiger Woods, at the Games.
by any reasonably objective measure, Tiger Woods has little or no chance of
winning selection for the Olympic team.
he does show up he'll no doubt have a good time amusing himself with the
aforementioned alternative activities on offer in Rio...
Summary Judgement of the Week
with Tiger, Nick Faldo believes that Woods's 'Major window' - in
other words, the spell of his career in which he has the necessary X-factor to
land the biggies - is over.
Asked if it
was all over for Tiger, Faldo told the Montreal Gazette: "I do, personally
(believe that). I was one of the few guys that said it right after this all
happened and he was trying to get back to the Masters last year.
he's actually a pretty sensitive guy. He's very sensitive to any comments or
criticisms that we have... Something like that, trying to deal with that, I
thought it was going to really affect him... I know what it's like.
always going; people are texting, emailing. I can't concentrate like that. That's
the first thing I thought: 'His concentration will be shattered.'"
Quote of the Week
coach Pete Cowen has told Irish golf writer Brian Keogh that two days before
The Open, Clarke wasn't exactly bursting with confidence as the pair linked up
for a pre-event tune-up on the range:
said: 'Alright, Darren?' (and Clarke replied) 'No, I'm f***ing not. I can't
f***ing hit it. I'm f***ing useless. I've got no pressure on it, no flight, the
f***ing spin is out of control, I'm hitting about that far behind it, I'm
narrow on the downswing and I can't f***ing putt.'"
later, Clarke lifted the Claret Jug.
Latecomers of the Week
never been the most forward-thinking of sports, but it almost always gets there
in the end. So it was perhaps no surprise to see that, some weeks after the
rest of Britain was hit by rioting and looting, golf got in on the act by being
targeted by feral youths.
Dutch Open last week was hit by vandals pouring creosote on the greens to kill
the grass; then, in Tuesday's Daily Record, it emerged that "teenage
motorbike bandits" have been going on a "crime spree" at a "string of
posh golf clubs", where they have smashed windows, stolen sets of clubs
and even pinched a BMW hire car being driven by a group of German tourists.
Hazard of the Week
the Road Hole bunker at the 17th at St Andrews is a dangerous hazard? Or the
pond in front of the iconic par-3 12th at Augusta? Think again.
in Florida came across a pair of alligators on the course who were in the
middle of an almighty battle. Rather than run the other way, they stuck around
and filmed all the fun on a cameraphone: