Golf made its return to the Olympics for the first time in over 100 years. So how did it do?
The sport entered the Olympics under an umbrella of controversy and criticism. The city of Rio de Janeiro was under fire for building a golf course on a nature preserve. The biggest pros were dropping out of contention like flies, citing Zika virus as their reasons, but giving off the impression of a general lack of interest and support.
Now, it looks like those who dropped out of the Olympics are the ones who truly missed out. Every golfer who medaled now has something that none of their fellow competitors have.
USA bronze medal winner Matt Kuchar repeatedly said that he has never been so proud to come in third place, nor has he ever received so many congratulations for it.
For the women’s game, Shanshan Feng of China medaled bronze for her country, which has been eradicating golf courses. Players like Aditi Ashok made India start talking about women's golf. So for those who care about growing the game, the Olympics mattered.
The course itself received much praise and proved to be a worthy place to hold such competition. You can view a 3D flyover preview of the whole course here.
Inbee Park of South Korea secured herself the gold medal by five strokes, but the men's competition was as good entertainment as golf could provide. Justin Rose (Great Britain) and Henrik Stenson (Sweden) traded shots all day in front of a sold out crowd, ending with a tight finish with Rose claiming the gold. The joy felt between the three of them, and the three women, is more joy than you see at the end of any other major golf tournament with one trophy winner.
Golf was a resounding success in the Olympics, and if it succeeded in Rio, it can succeed anywhere. We hope to see it make its return in Tokyo.