Golf returns to the Summer Olympics after a 112-year absence from the docket of games. The last time golf was an Olympic competition was in 1904 at the St Louis Games. To give you a frame of reference for how long ago that was, consider: FIFA had just been established, the Titanic was still nearly a decade away from taking its fateful first voyage and World War I’s onset was still a decade away. In that Olympiad the Canadian George Lyon outdueled the American Chandler Egan in the match play tournament. During the next Olympics in London George Lyon surprisingly turned down a gold medal for a shocking reason, as his great-grandson recently relayed to SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio:
What’s most interesting about golf’s return to the Olympics is how it actually came about. Peter Dawson, the current chief of the IGF, discussed with PGA Tour Radio that the decision came down to the smaller nations of the IGF petitioning the administrators that in their respective countries, the game would gain a degree of prestige and subsequent financing from the Olympic committees in those nations: Once it became clear that the Rio Olympics would be hosting golf a course architect was hired and Gil Hanse was the man with the plan. A relative unknown in the public’s eye, Hanse and his firm are very well considered in the circles of golf. According to Hanse the real decision-maker for the Rio Games committee was the fact that Hanse was willing to make the sacrifice and move to Rio to ensure that all stages of the construction and development of the course would be overseen by himself personally.
And what of that impressive new course way down south Rio way? Our own Ben Crenshaw breaks down what he thinks golfers will be facing at this fair, but by no means easy, course as they go for the gold.
You can catch all of the rounds of golf at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Rio Olympics Radio (Ch. 106.) Plus, don’t forget PGA Tour Radio’s special on the history of golf at the Olympics and its glorious return which will be airing throughout on PGA Tour Radio.
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