Rio Olympics 2016: Lydia Ko says Olympic golf is here to stay

By Sam Hewat

Lydia Ko has praised the Olympic golf programme after she finished with a silver medal. Photo / AP
Lydia Ko has praised the Olympic golf programme after she finished with a silver medal. Photo / AP

It was lambasted before the Olympics had even started.

High profile players pulling out left and right, citing various and somewhat suspicious reasons for giving golf the Olympic finger.

Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Jason Day, all choosing to stay away from Rio in order to pursue their own golfing agendas.

Then there were arguments about the sports competitiveness.

Should it be an Olympic sport? Can they make it a worthwhile event? Will it last a four-year cycle?

Well for women's World No. 1 Lydia Ko, there's no doubt about it, Olympic golf is here to stay.

Ko, talking to Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch, said every player she encountered thought Olympic golf had an unparalleled success.



"Talking to the mens after their week, I only heard great things about it," she said.

"They were praising the week and what a success it was.

"I think our week was as successful or even more.

We had six different countries for the medalists and it's a huge inspiration."

Ko finished off an impressive four-day performance to claim the silver medal.

While her No. 1 ranking made her favourite for gold, she battled back from an out-of-character first round to move all the way back up the leaderboard and secure second place with a clutch last putt.

However, she believes more success was achieved off the course.

"Even here in Brazil, golf isn't their main sport, but we saw a lot of Brazilian fans and we at least grew the game and made a difference."

Similarly, Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox believes golf did everything right at the Olympics and its inclusion in the next Games is probable.



"A lot of people are saying it's the best experience they've had in their lives, and this is coming from major winners," Fox told Veitch.

"Our job for the week was to make sure the guys who didn't go felt like they were missing out on something and I think we managed to do that."

While player satisfaction is just one element of a full Olympic review, all indications point to golf at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

- NZ Herald

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