Fresh from watching Irish heroics against more illustrious opponents in France and the impeccable behaviour of adoring fans, I find it hard to believe so many golfers are withdrawing from international duty at the Olympics. It should be a source of immense pride to represent your country and I have to agree with boxer and national treasure Katie Taylor on this one; it looks like some golfers were waiting for an excuse to withdraw.
First of all I would question whether we really need golf at the Olympics, to me it’s just another step in turning the games into a commercial free for all. Golf is a fine sport but it already gets enough media attention without jumping on the Olympics bandwagon. For the record, I feel the same about soccer teams and professional boxers at the Olympics too!
Secondly, while I understand the reasons for Shane Lowry’s withdrawal to some extent, I am skeptical about Rory McIlroy’s. I wonder whether Rory’s heart was ever really in representing team Ireland. Recently married Lowry took his decision based on medical advice, which said contracting the disease could be harmful when planning a family. In fairness I did hear an expert on national radio state that while the disease is rare and most patients don’t even experience any real illness, it could be harmful to those wishing to have children within a six-month period.
The Olympics is a chance for those taking part in sports, which operate outside the media spotlight to enjoy a day in the sun. Therefore it might be time to rethink golf’s place at the games. While Rory and other superstar swingers are unpacking their bags, the unsung heroes of Irish sports are still fighting tooth and nail to book their seat on the plane to Rio.