By 14 March, 2021 - 12:11pm 56 views
Golf is a distant relative in the Olympic family. For a long time, he was not even invited to share a tablecloth with the other sports at a Games. He had appeared in the dates of 1900 and 1904, but they threw him out of the house and it took 112 years, until Rio 2016, for the door to be opened again. Much of that re-entry had to do with Tiger Woods . That one of the best athletes of all time could not attend the biggest sporting event was shocking because of its enormous media, sporting and economic appeal (golf moves tons of money for television rights in the United States). Even more so when the room was opened to disciplines such as surfing, climbing, skateboarding and breakdancing. So the International Olympic Committee (IOC) checked his visitor's card holder and sent one to golf. The play seemed round. But so far it has gone wrong:
Tiger did not qualify for Rio 2016 and will not be in Tokyo 2021 after the serious traffic accident in which a few weeks ago he broke his right knee. And, without the best poster it could have, this Saturday Olympic golf took another disappointment. The number one in the world rankings, the American Dustin Johnson, 36, announced that he is giving up going to the Games because the dates are not going well and the calendar is already very tight. “To be honest, I haven't given much thought to the Games. I never really got to decide whether to play or not because I just didn't sign up. The Games are in the middle of a part of the calendar with many important tournaments for me. It's a long trip. There are too many trips and I want to focus on the American circuit, ”explained Johnson, current champion of the Augusta Masters and who was ill with coronavirus.
The men's golf tournament will be played between Thursday, July 29 and Sunday, August 1. Two weeks before the British Open is played, the last big one of the season after the Masters (April), the PGA (May) and the US Open (June). Right after the Games, Memphis hosts a World Championship. And from September 24 to 26, the United States will host Europe with a vengeance at the Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.
It's six months long, six eight thousand in a row. A marathon from which Johnson has ruled out the appointment with the least golf tradition, and without a prize pool, but also the one with the most symbolism.
“It doesn't set a good example. His resignation is not good for our sport ”, laments Manuel Piñero, former player and captain of the Spanish team in the last Games. “It surprises me because the Americans are very patriotic. Basketball stars sign up for the Olympic movement and a golfer doesn't. It misses me. The Games are every four years and it is unique for a sport like golf that has returned after so many years. It is very important for the image we give and this hurts us ”, adds Piñero.
Already in Rio 2016 a part of the great figures of golf dropped out on the grounds of fear of the Zika virus. For example, the number one at the time, the Australian Jason Day, and the number four, the Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (Spain was represented by Sergio García and Rafa Cabrera Bello) resigned. The feeling was that the Games were almost a hindrance, distracting them from juicier goals. The blur is repeated now with number one, but without any excuse. They are simply not interested in the Games, they are not on their agenda or as a better tournament. The World Championship next week in Tokyo , which takes place in Memphis, distributes 8.8 million euros in prizes. Johnson accumulates nearly $ 60 million in his career in tournaments alone, sponsorships aside. Olympic glory, the possibility of fighting for a gold, it seems that it is not worth so much for him.