Golf is returning to the Olympics in the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Summer Games (it’ll be part of the 2020 edition as well, of course).
There was some doubt the sport would stay on the Olympic programme but I guess the surge from Rio was enough to keep it on. A part of the reveal that golf is sticking around: the dual announcement that Paris and Los Angeles will host, not to bury the lead.
Those who wondered if golf generated enough interest to remain an Olympic sport were made wary by the bevy of lukewarm remarks about the sport’s inclusion from top players, like Rory McIlroy.
England’s Justin Rose’s thrilling gold medal triumph over Henrik Stenson of Sweden gave Olympic organizers everything they could hope for: Two top-tier players battling it out for Olympic glory. And it didn’t hurt that Rose was so amped up to win the medal…he may still be carrying it in his golf bag. Likewise, bronze medalist, Matt Kuchar, seemed genuinely overcome when awarded his medal.
With respect to host courses, many think Le Golf National, host of next year’s Ryder Cup, will do the honors at Paris in 2024. When the Games head to Los Angeles in 2029, L.A.’s most famous venue, Riviera Country Club is expected to host.
So, unlike in Brazil, where Gil Hanse was tasked with building an entirely new golf course (and did a respectable job), some great courses will be on display in the coming years—something else to look forward to.
The IOC’s willingness to include new formats in the programme also suggests it might be amenable to two-person team competitions or some match play events—beyond the traditional 72-hole stroke-play format—-in 2024 and 2028, which is, again, something to look forward to.
Reportedly, IOC President Thomas Bach was overwhelmed by the quality of the golf in the Olympics, according to then-commissioner Tim Finchem. It’s good obviously, the sport passed muster with the fans and the IOC in general, but to have an advocate at the head of the organization is only a further boon.
Now, if you’re a golf fan, you hope top players will turn up for the competition in Tokyo in 2020 and that “smog” doesn’t become the “Zika virus” excuse that kept the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and more away from Rio in 2016.