Representing your country should be the pinnacle of your career. This alongside major championships should be what you train for, play for and win for. However, in golf, neither of these achievements are recognised with the same respect.
Today, winning the gold medal in the Rio de Janerio 2016 Olympics does not match, nor even come close, to the rewards that a major champion or even many regular tour winners receive. With the Olympic Champion only receiving 46 world ranking points, it’s no surprise to see such a lethargic reaction from players concerned about the FedEx Cup, Race to Dubai and Ryder Cup. Ultimately, competing for a gold medal does not have the rewards to compensate for the risk of going to Rio.
Some disagree with this assessment. One editor found four reasons why you’re an idiot for not supporting the Olympics, a position that ruffled a few feathers amongst the CLICKON purists. That being said the fact still remains, the Olympics are woefully underwhelming for golfers.
@PGATOUR embarrassing for the olympics and for golf.
— Jerry Mcmennamin (@JMcmennamin1) August 11, 2016
7 players out of the top 20 in the world will not compete
- Jason Day, Australia (No.1)
- DJ, United States (No.2)
- Spieth, United States (No. 3)
- Rory, Northern Ireland (No. 4)
- Adam Scott, Australia (No. 8)
It’s no coincidence that these golfers share the same perspective. They didn’t become champions by ignoring career goals in favour of frivolous tournament play.
One-fifth of the men’s Olympic golf field (11 out 60) have never played in a major championship
Can you guess who these two are? That’s Brazil’s Adilson da Dilva (288th in the world) and Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman (318th in the world). Wow! Look how the Olympics has attracted household names at the top of their sport…hmm.
We’re all about the underdogs.https://t.co/PPMTa4puSp
— SkratchTV (@skratchTV) August 11, 2016
The Travelers Championship is worth more points than the Olympics
.@rooknox‘s hat throw is the best way to FINISH HIM.https://t.co/epmUWxLfJk
— SkratchTV (@skratchTV) August 8, 2016
Russell Knox, the winner at the Travelers Championship last week, earned 50 points for his triumph. That’s 6 more than the eventual gold medalist at Rio. Are you starting to see why many players can’t justify competing? Just because we assume winning a gold is an amazing achievement does not mean professionals, who have a duty to their careers, feel the same way.
Here are a few recent tournament winners that have earned more than 46 ranking points:
- Jhonattan Vegas, RBC Canadian Open (46 points).
- Sergio Garcia, The AT&T Byron Nelson (48 points).
- Danny Willett, Omega Dubai Desert Classic (48 points).
- Branden Grace, RBC Heritage (52 points).
- Charl Schwartzel, The Valspar Championship (52 points).
- Jordan Spieth, The Dean & Deluca Inv (58 points).
A major champion will get their hands on 100 world ranking points
Jason Day won the Players Championship back in May this year and collected 80 ranking points. Just look at the points on offer at WGC events; they range between 68 and 76! What would it take for the majority of players to consider a gold medal in that category or even at the top of it?
Looking at it plainly, an Olympic gold medal is worth 46 points. This is around the tour average for winning an event. So realistically, winning the Olympics is just about worth winning a PGA Tour tournament. It’s not even close to touching a WGC, ‘non’ major, or a major itself. Those who withdrew did their math.
It’s ludicrous that we expect golfers to take the Olympics seriously. The Majors are huge, the WGC events are huge, the Nelson, Palmer and Nicklaus are all ‘big’, not to mention a score of other tournaments, so where do we draw the line?
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