Will “Rexit” Change Golf for the Better?

Golf in the Olympics was always a bad idea, even when the zika virus was nothing more than a gleam in the petri dish of a microbiologist.  Take away the silly hype from the Golf Channel and you are left with exactly nothing.

Rory McIlroy’s exit from the Olympics shouts, “The king has no clothing!”  Let’s hope other golfers are listening.  Guys, it’s okay to skip the event.  There is no stigma to focusing on real events.

Has there ever been a smaller tail waving a bigger dog than Olympics golf?  Let’s move the British Open, golf’s Mount Olympus, to accommodate NBC’s screwy exhibition in Brazil.  Forget Old Tom and Young Tom.  That’s not golf’s history.  No, no.  Golf is eternally linked to the ancient Greeks.

You know the story.  Philippides ran 26 miles to announce victory against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.  It was once thought that he dropped dead upon delivering his message.  However, Tim Finchem and Ty Votaw, the world’s two preeminent professors of ancient Greek history, now assure us that Philippides did not die, but rather scampered off to go play a quick nine before dark.

Irony?  Justice?  Two of Rory’s four majors came at the PGA Championship, the event most adversely affected by the schedule change.

I can’t wait to see the strength-of-field number for the Olympics.  Maybe Justin Ray will run that, if he’s not too busy computing how many odd-numbered scores Tiger Woods shot on odd-numbered days in odd-numbered months, and how poorly Jordan Spieth is faring in that critical stupidstic.

Will other golfers follow Rexit?  Let’s hope we soon see a couple of Jexits.

Olympics golf, apart from everything else, is just one more event that would will take the spotlight away from where it belongs: the core Olympics sports where gold medals are the participants’ majors.  Granted, the attention Olympics golf would have gotten will get (hmmm…, why do I write as if golf is already gone?) will not amount to a pimple on a gymnast’s balance beam.

No golfer on the planet would trade a claret jug for an Olympic gold medal.  That’s not hyperbole; it is stating the obvious.  Nor would Michael Phelps trade a single gold medal for a pool full of Masters Week Swim Meet trophies.

Why did anyone push for golf in the Olympics in the first place?  You know the answer: “To grow the game.”  That means Nike and Calloway and TaylorMade want to sell big-headed drivers to rice farmers in Thailand.  And, of course, there is no problem in Venezuela that can’t be solved by a cargo container full of Scotty Cameron putters.

The greed-induced globalization of golf led to Rexit the same way the globalization of world trade led to Brexit (or at least today’s vote on Brexit).

I praise Rory McIlroy, but let’s not underestimate the role Adam Scott played.  From day one, the always generous and polite Adam Scott showed no interest in Olympics golf, and he was quite open about it.  He even made the point about golf distracting from the real Olympics sports.

So, it’s time to answer the question:  Will Rexit be good for golf?  I would like to think so.  I would like to think it would be a cold splash of water in the face of the turnip wringers.  That Rory’s body blow to NBC and Tim Finchem would cause them to reexamine their disservice to the game.  But I can’t forget that Rory wears the label of a company that very much wants to “grow the game.”  I surely attach a symbolism to Rexit that is not completely there, if at all.  Rory is concerned about his health, certainly, and it is likewise certain that top players are tired of lying about how important the Olympics are to them.  (They do enough such lying about the Ryder and Presidents Cups.)  But I can’t honestly say I believe this is the first step toward an equipment rollback and the return of golf to its roots.  I can’t say this is the tipping point for a revolt against the corporate blood suckers.

Still, I can dream, and I much prefer the dream of people spending $100 for a full set of clubs and $20 for a round of golf.  Using a pull cart, right down the middle of the fairway.

That’s a far better dream than one of subsistence farmers in China hoeing their land with Rocketballz 5-irons.

*****

What Others Are Saying:

Stephanie Wei had an interesting article about Rory and the Olympics in general.  Of particular note was a section on how dangerous Rio is for reporters, particularly female reporters.  She mentioned several other big names she feels certain will drop out.

Adam Fonseca is saying… nothing.  Oh, well, here’s an article about a blast from the past, Nathaniel Crosby.  Has it really been 35 years since he won the U.S. Amateur?

Geoff Shackelford has a couple of pieces, “Rory’s Rio WD: Why Are Golfers The Athletes Most Fearful Of Zika?” being one of them.  I fell for the troll headline, but it’s not his best effort.  (This is a bad sentence even without the obvious typo: “Still, it is hard not to conclude that the expansive world schedule in golf and the lack of any need for golfers to view golf [surely he intended ‘Olympics golf’] as the ultimate in their sport, is making the decision easier.”)  Lots of commenters took the bait and responded, They ain’t a-skeerd.  They think it’s a crap event.

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14 Responses to Will “Rexit” Change Golf for the Better?

  1. Brian Penn says:

    Lanny, well stated. Love the “Rexit”analogy! Thanks!

    Brian

  2. Ken says:

    One of your best Lanny!

    • lannyh says:

      Thank you. I was kind of thinking the same thing. It was fun writing yesterday and today, which is often a good sign. Also, the good guys don’t seem to win very often these days (in the real world), and this, to me, was a case of the good guys winning one.

  3. Ken says:

    McDowell made it official. He’s out.

  4. Speedy says:

    WADA test is warranted for these golfers, to show their good faith in dodging mosquito bites.

  5. DanishDude says:

    While I agree that Golf in the Olympics is a bad idea, I don’t share your fanboy opinions about Rory’s “courageous example”. Quite frankly, I think the zika-excuse is a dishonest cop out.

  6. Speedy says:

    Meanwhile, I see Trevor Immelman is getting a Golf Channel audition. One major win gets that shot. Brandel was lucky.

    • Jaybird77 says:

      Chambles, Nobilo, DiMarco, Oberholser, Gallagher Jr., and a few other guys I’m drawing a blank on the name have all spent time on GC and none have a Major. So it would seems it’s more of a coincidence that Immelman happens to have a Major.

  7. Sports-realist. says:

    So who is even left in the olympic golf? I haven’t been following the details of the olympics….Was the field supposed to be around 100, and now it’s around 80? Are they going to FILL the vacating spots by Rory, and others? Was this supposed to be a 4 day event, aka a regular tour event style?
    And finally why does the golf channel exist without Tiger Woods……Uh Trevor Immelman? Wow, I guess all the pieces are in place….On the other hand, Trevor might need $$$$….Winning a major doesn’t mean you live in a lap of luxary….Heck I’d take a job there, if they were going to pay me 6 figures, and yap about golf this and that…

    • Speedy says:

      I see Willett as a cocky li’l bugger after winning his one major. He’ll likely be cap-in-hand before too long.

      I can’t imagine GC paying most of their talking heads six figures. Exposure gives them a chance to earn money elsewhere. That’s the only perk.

      Tiger who?

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