Olympics COUNT DOWN
One year out from the Olympics and our ALPG players are already counting down!
When the International Olympic Committee announced in 2009 that golf would form part of the Olympic programme in 2016, most players seemed delighted about the potential benefits and funding that golf would now receive in becoming an Olympic Sport. On a personal level though most players were more concerned with the 25 major Championships that they would compete in between 2009 and 2016 to give any real serious thought to Rio 2016.
Six years on and the golfing world is in serious planning mode for what will be one of the most significant golf events in memory, in fact this time next year practice rounds will be underway for the men’s golf event at the games of the 121st Olympiad!
The Olympic Golf event in 2016 will be an individual event which has disappointed players and fans alike, many felt that this would be a great opportunity to showcase the game by having a team’s event, possibly even a mixed team’s event. The thought of Karrie Webb and Adam Scott playing Stacy Lewis and Jordan Speith for the Olympic Gold medal would certainly be a mouth-watering encounter, and would potentially attract huge worldwide audiences. The IOC has restricted Olympic fields for each the Men’s and Women’s competition to 60 players who will be selected from the International Golf Federation Olympic Rankings. The top 15 ranked players will be eligible, with a limit of four players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players will be eligible based on the world rankings, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have 2 or more players among the top 15. The competition for places on National teams, particularly in the cases of the USA and South Korea teams will be tough. It is likely that these teams will have 4 players on each of their teams; currently Korea have nine players in the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and the USA five players. Barring injury, it is most likely that Karrie Webb and Minjee Lee will represent Australia in the women’s competition.
For Karrie, representing Australia at the Olympics will be the pinnacle of her magnificent career. Karrie, a self-confessed sports nut, boasts Olympians Dawn Fraser, Nat Cook and Rennae Stubbs as some of her closest friends. The possibility of her becoming an Olympic athlete at 41 years old will no longer be just a dream, and as long as Karrie stays healthy she will be wearing the green and gold into the Maracanã stadium for the opening ceremony on August 5th 2016.
Australia would have two very good medal prospects in Minjee and Karrie. I am sure Australia’s Team Leader Ian Baker-Finch is confident that we have strong medal prospects in both the men’s and women’s competitions. In saying this we know that golf is very different to many other sports where there is maybe only a few genuine medal hopes.
In both the Women’s and Men’s events there will be at least 40 players who are capable of winning a medal. It will definitely make fascinating viewing to see who is standing on the dais draped in their national flag and an Olympic Gold medal. Let’s hope that the flag is an Australian flag and they are singing the words to Advance Australia Fair!