Golf in the Olympics — some people think it is fantastic, and some people think it is a waste of time.

For those who do not like the idea of golf as an Olympic event, they should be asked what they think of break-dancing and skateboarding for Olympic medals? What’s next? Hula hooping?

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

Golf is a legitimate worldwide sport that is played almost everywhere, so it is truly an international sport. And for those who think that golf is a recreation, because it does not require a level of conditioning, look at what Tiger Woods did to golf.

El Tigre has gotten many PGA Tour golfers to get into shape because of his training regimen. And why did this happen? For two reasons: 1) He became a consistent winner, because of how he trained; 2) He elevated the prize money on the PGA Tour, which told pro golfers, if you want to make money, you should get into physical shape.

You cannot put Olympic golf up there with the four majors of the PGA Tour, but it does rank equally with some of the weekend tournaments, and the TV ratings probably will be better than a lot of the regular PGA Tour events.

The only negative about this 60-player men’s field might be that there are not a lot of PGA Tour household names in that group.

You may wonder how there were four Americans in the competition — Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed. The Americans had four players because we have so many among the highest-ranking players in the world. Most countries had two and some had only one.

You saw and read that Jon Rahm of Spain and American Bryson DeChambeau had to withdraw from the Olympics because they tested positive for COVID-19. This is the second time around for Rahm, and you have to wonder how that can happened. Wouldn’t it have made sense for him to take better care of himself and to stay away from any chance of getting the virus?

You also might be asking yourself why Dustin Johnson turned down an opportunity to participate in this competition? A player of his caliber would have been one of the favorites to win this golf tournament.

Golf was played in the 1904 Olympics and then revived as an Olympic event 112 years later in 2016 in Rio de Janero, where Brit Justin Rose won the gold medal, Swede Henrik Stenson earned the silver and American Matt Kuchar took home the bronze.

It went over well in Rio, so fan interest, as in television ratings, for this tournament at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kasahata, Saitana, understandably was a big hit in the United States and was very popular around the world.

*****

The Maine State Golf Association has three men’s and two women’s events this week. The men have play days Aug. 2 at Martindale and Aug. 6-7 at Gorham. The women have tournaments Aug. 3 at Norway and Palmyra. The MSGA Mixed Championship is Sunday at Willowdale.

The MSGA ‘B’ and ‘C’ tournaments, scheduled July 21-22 at Riverside, was postponed by rain and rescheduled for Sept. 28-29, again at Riverside.

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his ninth season as Sun Journal golf columnist. 

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