UK and South Korea Win Gold
Now that the golf portion of the Olympic Games is in the rear view mirror, I can backtrack a little on all my doubt that it would ever happen. I also doubted that it would happen with good people, and I doubted that the game would ever be invited back to such an international gathering again. I may still be right about that, or I might not be. The jury, I suspect, will be out for a little while before we know for sure. Meanwhile, the medals have been awarded, and it went very well for the spectator, all in all.
Britain waited over 112 years for this shindig to come around again, and Justin Rose was in the right place at the right time, playing the right kind of golf. Despite the notable absences, the man who won the gold medal played like one should do earn a thing like that – and he defeated a man in Henrik Stenson who was playing like a great Olympian should. They ought to get medals just for that.. It was a good old-fashioned duel in the sun for the men, and everyone knew it would be coming into the final round. That’s why over 15,000 tickets were sold for a spot in the gallery that day. Rose’s famous short game was on full display, and he outlasted Stenson in the mistake department, making for a dicey but satisfying victory. Rose is now 36 years of age. He’s won twenty tournaments worldwide, and now he’s won one for himself, his country, the Queen, and whatever else the British hold dear. Perhaps medals do something to a man, even a proper British man. Rose’s celebration was described by one writer as “lusty” once he knew he’d finally finished Stenson off, and relegated him to the silver. The crowd was refreshingly friendly and respectful. Added to that, many of the players from other countries stayed around to cheer one or the other on – just the way it should be. Maybe people should get medals for that as well, just to help us remember the way it’s supposed to be.
Just as the men set an impressive standard over the controversial course, situated in the middle of a controversial set of the Games, the women matched it, at least. What was Inbee Park doing in Rio anyway? She hasn’t played a competitive round of golf in a couple of months, and the last time she picked up a club to compete in her own country, she missed the cut. It wasn’t the international field that the Olympics hosted, and she missed the cut. She had an injury, but this week, even the likes of Lydia Ko couldn’t catch her, coming in with the silver. She bettered Shanshan Feng as well, who came in with a 69. So, I repeat, what was Inbee Park doing there? Maybe she should get medals just for guts, but why a medal for actually playing golf? She didn’t appear to have a prayer.
Well, for one thing, Inbee Park always has a prayer, no matter how down she seems to be. Inbee Park is one of few who can overcome things the rest of the field can’t overcome. She has more miracles in her bag than almost anyone, and she knows how and when to use them. She’s a great golfer, and finds a way. At 28, she’s won seven majors, and now the gold medal for South Korea, not to mention being the youngest person ever to qualify for the Hall of Fame. I would have expected that of Lydia or Yani, but Inbee keeps coming back to surprise.
Long after the medals are stored in closets or displayed on mantlepieces, people who love golf will remember who won the Olympic Games after the 112 year wait. If the game never again appears in the Games, it put on a good show. Britain and South Korea put on the best one.