13.5 C
Dublin
Friday, July 3, 2020
- Advertisement -

Could we be set for another epidemic of Olympic withdrawals?

Must read

Open Championship – Top-10 Greatest Hits – #8

In 1973, arguably the sport’s first global superstar was bowing-out of the Open Championship. Trust Gene Sarazen to sign off with a hole-in-one

Calls to postpone the PGA Tour are a knee-jerk reaction

'At the risk of sounding a little “tin-foil hat” here, the evidence suggests that the wave of positive tests and withdrawals has been blown way out of proportion'

Open Championship – Top-10 Greatest Hits – #9

No Top-10 of Open Championship greatest hits would be complete without at least one contribution from the greatest golfer of his – and arguably any other – generation, Tiger Woods

Open Championship – Top-10 Greatest Hits

In the absence of Open Championship golf this year, today we begin our highly subjective selection of greatest hits. Hopefully it will conjure some memories and stir some debate. Enjoy!

We hardly need reminding, but with golf set to make its Olympic return after a 112-year absence, the mosquito-borne Zika virus threw several spanners into the works. Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson were the top three in the world at the time, and all cited Zika fears for their withdrawal, as did our own leading trio of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry.

Though some have since ceded a lack of desire to compete as opposed to genuine health and safety concerns being the underlying motifs, this article is not intended to examine the rights and wrongs from four years ago. Neither being an Olympic athlete nor designated media, going (or being sent) to Rio was never on the cards, but recently married as I was, and planning a future that involved having children, I can’t say for certain that I’d have taken a “damn the consequences” approach.

But realistically, on the wider scale, the Zika virus was relatively harmless. The biggest cause for concern was congenital defects being passed on during pregnancy, and while not playing down the seriousness of these, the actual instances of such defects occurring were quite small. Thousands of athletes, thousands of officials, and tens of thousands of spectators all attended the Rio Games and there have been no confirmed cases of the virus occurring in any of these.

But now, four years on and with Tokyo looming, there is a much more serious and very real threat on the horizon. To date, the coronavirus has claimed 2,247 lives – a number which in all likelihood will have risen by the time you read this. Though originating in China, and where it is still concentrated highest, East-Asian neighbours South Korea and Japan are among the other countries of highest concern.

The LPGA Tour has already cancelled two Asian events this season – the tour stops in Thailand and Singapore – and it’s a decision that few can argue with. The opening ceremony in Tokyo is due to commence in five months, and a typical Olympic Games brings close to a million people together from every corner of the world.

Of course, the hope is that by the time the Games roll around, the virus will have been effectively quarantined, but it’s been two months since the initial outbreak and there are new cases being identified every day.

With something like the Olympic Games which has probably already cost Japan several billion dollars, cancelling would be an economic disaster to a country that has been struggling to recover from two decades of economic stagnation interspersed with natural disaster – an absolute last case scenario situation. One which the entire Japanese nation and thousands of athletes will be desperate to avoid.

But many golfers enjoy a luxury that their fellow athletes don’t. Riches and wealth, autonomy and autocracy, and a sport that places four annual tournaments on a pedestal that even the Olympic Games with its history and prestige can’t touch.

Any risk, however minor, could legitimately be classed as too much risk if this is your daily operating environment.

I always felt the litmus test for golf as an Olympic sport would be the field in Tokyo, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe this will be another Rio, and Paris 2024 will be the real test.

Are we poised for another epidemic of Olympic withdrawals? The dominos are lining up, but who will be first to take the fall?

New Gear

Big Max introduces lightest ever push trolley

At just 5.4kg, the TI Lite from trolley experts Big Max is a practical dream for golfers wanting to take the edge off their long walk spoiled

Music to our ears – Bushnell Golf introduces Wingman GPS Speaker

The all-in-one device gives golfers access to their favourite music while still providing them audible distance information on the course

Motocaddy M7 remote offers even more hands-free control

Motocaddy is introducing a new M7 Remote trolley that gives golfers a superb hands-free option for transporting clubs on the golf course

Cleveland Golf lifts curtain on latest flagship wedge, the RTX ZipCore

“Cleveland wedges are always just beautiful looking clubs, and this one is no different,” said 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Meadow signs on with Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort

Brilliant news for Stephanie Meadow as she has just been announced as the new Touring Professional for Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort

Power Blasts Off With 67 Day One Rocket Mortgage Classic

Seamus Power got off to a flyer at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and sits in tied 11th place after the first round

Power & Keelan – Junior golfing buddies now a team on the PGA Tour

Seamus Power is searching for PGA Tour positives with his junior golfing pal Simon Keelan by his side

Sunningdale to host 2021 Senior Open Presented by Rolex

Following the cancellation of The 2020 Senior Open Presented by Rolex, the Championship will return to Sunningdale Golf Club next year

Big Max introduces lightest ever push trolley

At just 5.4kg, the TI Lite from trolley experts Big Max is a practical dream for golfers wanting to take the edge off their long walk spoiled