Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus are among the legends of golf who are thrilled to have golf in the Olympics, and they view it as another much-needed opportunity to grow the game. Not everyone agrees, and we’re not talking about Adam Scott or Charl Schwartzel.
David Wilkie, an Olympic gold medalist from Scotland, feels differently, and he’s passionate about his disagreement with two-thirds of the big three.
From Bunkered Mag:
“I think it’s wrong for those players to say there aren’t enough Indians or Africans playing the game without realizing the impact and environmental damage a golf course would do in those countries. You just have to go to those underdeveloped countries in terms of golf and look at the amount of money it would take to build a golf course and the destruction it would cause of forests. It’s utter rubbish to pretend that, by making golf part of the Olympic games, you’re going to attract a poor guy in India to play. They just can’t afford it.”
The Brazilian government has tried to say that the development of the Rio golf course has created conservation areas that is having a positive impact on local wildlife, but it sounds like David Wilkie just doesn’t like golf.
He may have a point, though.
For some time now, Major League Baseball has been talking about attracting more African-American youth to baseball, that urban youth in particular are not getting involved. The bottom line, however, is this: it’s easier to play pick-up basketball or play tag football in the street than it is to play baseball. And, if the kids don’t want to play baseball, you can’t do a lot to change their minds. They won’t play. And that is what golf is facing. People are aware of golf, it is not as if they’ve never heard of it. So having it displayed in their face more won’t draw them to a course, and it is too expensive to begin playing.
Wilkie continued . . .
“Golf doesn’t need any stimulation, it doesn’t need a wider audience, and if people in these countries are going to play golf, it’ll never, ever filter down to the poorer people. So I think what they’re saying is absolute bullshit.”
Despite the language, it is hard to disagree. But then David Wilkie began swimming out of his lane.
“I think they’re just looking after their own psyche in the sense that they want to build more golf courses because of the money they’ll get paid for designing them.”
You had us, then you lost us, Dave. That’s akin to saying you would only help open a rec. swimming pool because you wanted to line your pockets, not because you love swimming and care about its future. These men absolutely are not opportunists looking for an easy payday. This is a game they love, and they want to see it succeed, and they are happy to see it in the limelight.
The rest of the article continues with Wilkie showing that he has more of a problem with golf, and golfers in general, getting a free pass to the Olympics. It is fairly easy to see that it’s a case of, “I worked harder for this and deserve it more,” situation. He was never going to be satisfied with golf in the Olympics, regardless of the scenario.