Watson opposed to move into Olympics
Golf has no place in the Olympics and its inclusion is contributing to the dilution of the importance of the sport’s Major championships, according to eight-times Major winner Tom Watson.
The sport will return to the Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, after last being played in 1904, and while its return has been lauded by players and officials alike, the 63-year-old Watson was not keen on it staying there.
“I don’t want to pour cold water on it but I don’t think it should be in the Olympic Games,” Watson said yesterday ahead of the Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney.
“I still think of the Olympics as track and field and not golf, to be honest with you.
“We have our most important championships (the four Major championships). You have golf in the Olympics. You have diluted the importance, in a sense, of the four Major championships.”
Watson said he also had an idealistic belief about what the Olympics stood for and periodic doping scandals and innuendo about athletes had tainted his feelings.
“I probably had a pie-in-the-sky way of looking at the Olympics as being clean and pure,” he said. “I like to trust people and trust they are doing things for the right reasons.
“When the professionals go to the Olympics, they go for the wrong reasons . . . I’m probably talking like a dinosaur.”
Watson also felt the calendar meant several end-of-year tournaments were also being diluted.
“Our Tour is not being serviced enough by the top players,” he added.
“We have six or seven tournaments at the end of the year. They were designated to be there and they are putting up $5 or $6 million but they are (considered) a secondary tournament.
“Add the World Golf Championships to the mix, the four Majors, the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup and all of a sudden you have 20 tournament that the top players have to play every year.
“You play 20 tournaments and you have 10 other tournaments to choose. But there are 30 other tournaments to choose from so 20 tournaments don’t get the top players.”
PGA Player of Year McIlroy honoured
Rory McIlroy was named as the PGA Tour Player of the Year yesterday, capping an outstanding season for the world number one.
As expected, the 23-year-old was the popular choice for the annual Jack Nicklaus Award, decided by a vote from eligible tour players.
He becomes the youngest recipient since Tiger Woods in 1998. McIlroy won four PGA Tour titles this year, including the PGA Championship by a record eight shots.