IBF wants to see major changes to Olympics format

Golf was definitely a major hit at the Olympic Games..but it can be even better, according to the coach of Australia’s Olympic golf team Ian Baker-Finch.

The former British Open champion saw first-hand what a success golf was in Rio and he feels it must be retained and can even be improved when it goes to Tokyo for their Olympics in 2020.

Justin Rose Justin Rose shows off his Gold Medal (Credit: IGF/PGA Tour)

‘IBF’ says officials should seriously look at running a team competition as well and maybe even adapt Aussie So Oh’s suggestion of making it a mixed team competition with teams of men and women doing battle alongside each other.

No matter what they do, though, Baker-Finch says golf did enough to suggest it should be there in Tokyo and beyond as an Olympic event.

The Queenslander, who commentates on golf in the US during the year, was able to witness first-hand the enthusiasm of players and fans at the Olympic golf event.

There were larger-than-expected crowds in Rio and the television ratings around the world were enormous, particularly in the US and Europe.

Sweden, for instance, had almost nine times the number of viewers watching Henrik Stenson win the silver medal as they had when he won his first major, the British Open, only a few weeks earlier.

The IOC will meet next year to decide whether or not golf will stay beyond 2020 but baker-Finch says golf-crazy Japan will attract an even stronger turnout for the next Olympics.

“Even if they stuck with the same (format), Tokyo would be better,” said Baker-Finch.

“But with so many people here note-taking, hopefully they can meld into the IOC a little more golf mentality.

“I would like to see a team medal (on offer), somehow. I understand it was difficult to do anything different for the first year and they didn’t want to step too far outside the box, (but) I hoped all the way through the process we’d go to the World Cup format with a singles and a doubles.

“And I really think we’d have had a stronger representation from the men had there been a two-man team (event). That would have added a bit of a team atmosphere.”