Calls growing for Olympic golf format change, expected to be in vain

Calls growing for Olympic golf format change, expected to be in vain

Golf's bigger names are increasingly more vocal with their displeasure in the current Olympic golf format.

The accepted format for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro calls for a pair of 60-player tournaments for men and women, contested over 72 holes of stroke play. In other words, what golf does every week.

Graeme McDowell finds that somewhat silly.

“Seventy-two holes has always seems the best way to find the best player whereas match play doesn’t always provide the best player," McDowell said, according to Golf by Tour Miss. “Maybe they could have 36 holes of qualifying for eight players to then compete for the gold medal could be worthwhile.”

2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy agrees.

“It would be the worst possible format if organizers of the 2016 Olympics went for a 72-hole stroke-play tournament,” he said. “They’ve got the opportunity to create something very cool because 72 holes is hardly inventive.”

Martin Laird has joined the growing chorus, too.

"We play 72 holes every week and, on top of suggestions that the World Cup is going back to 72-hole stroke play, it would be a travesty if golf in the Olympics was also 72 holes," he said, according to Reuters. "It's fun playing best-ball and foursomes. We should be playing it (the Olympic tournament) as a team event. If the Olympics was to be an individual 72-hole event, it would be like any other tournament."

Those cries will likely fall on deaf ears, however, as former International Golf Federation head and current PGA Tour vice president Ty Votaw told Golf Channel the format is unlikely to change.

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

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