This story popped up a few days ago. Golf and Rugby 7's have been included in the 2012 Olympics. I have always been a little sceptical of none athletic sports being included in the Olympics. Rugby obviously is an athletic sport, but golf treads rather close to the line that divides Games and Sports. You could argue that with the inclusion of air rifle shooting and other such Games, that the Olympics has already abandoned its search for true Athletic perfection. This however is no excuse to continue letting un-athletic events into the Olympics. Golf however had (before today) convinced me that it was indeed a sport that was worthy of being an Olympic discipline. The person who had convinced me was Tiger Woods. He has single handedly shown that by being fit, strong, and healthy you can perform at a much higher level in Golf than if you were fat, weak and unhealthy.
What then is this event that has come to my attention today which has changed my mind, and shown me that in fact Golf is not worthy of Olympic Medals. 'The Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open' is a PGA tour Golf event that all the major names in the game will attend. The problem I have is this; Why can it not be called the 'Shriners Hospital for Children Open'. What does a pin up pop star have to do with sport and why is his name plastered all over a charity event? He could have supported the event and been the face of the tournament but just without the sickening self promotion. I implore everyone reading this to visit http://www.jtshrinersopen.com/ and marvel at the way 'JT' has managed to sneak a ticket line link for his shows right next to the donation link for the charity. Yes he is doing a charity concert after the tournament but still you get the feel its rather more for 'JT's' benefit than the kids.
Deplorable as this, advertising in the guise of charity, maybe why should it effect how Golf is treated by the Olympics? The answer is simple; Golf is a game that is driven by marketing (aimed at fat businessmen) and money. Just as Cricket is designed around meal times, Golf is practically designed for a business meeting. Supporters of the sport will say that there are other sports such as Football and Tennis who could have the same allegations thrown at them..... and I will Football and Tennis should not be in the Olympics.
To sum up no sport should be in the Olympics unless the Olympics is the pinnacle of that Sport. No one in the game of Golf cares about the Olympics it would simply be another payday for (now Billionaire) Tiger Woods and his understudies.
The Olympics are the one time in 4 years that people around the world get to see athletes competing, not for money, not for fame, but just to know for sure that they are the best at what they do in the world. That is what makes the Olympics so special. If any more of these overly commercialized sports are allowed to enter then the focus will shift, from athletes who have trained their whole lives for their one Olympic moment, to athletes who just see it as another pay day. I don't want to see that and I'm sure that deep down the stars of the Golf game probably feel the same.
My ranting will probably all be in vane though and we will probably have to put up with 'JT' opening the Games with a rendition of 'Sexy Back' as he rips some woman's bra off Super Bowl style!