Par.. Under par… Birdie… Albatross .. Double eagle…. No I am not writing gibberish…These are some of the terminologies used for GOLF.. A sport which was never my cup of tea ( Not because I thought the game was inferior, but just the opposite.. ) but slowly as my interest grew in sport, I brushed up my knowledge about many sport.. Golf was definitely one of those. I am still learning about the nuances of it and claim to be no expert in this field.
But what attracted me to golf even more was the fact it has been included in the Olympics for the first time in more than a century. Precisely 112 years. WOW! Now that’s a long time.. So, the newly built Olympic Golf course within the “Reserva de Marapendi” in the Barra da Tijuca zone, is all set to host the ‘whose who’ of the Golf world. Before this, it was part of the programme only in Paris 1900 and St Louis 1904. In Rio, men and women from 41 countries will compete in individual categories.
Many high profile golfers have withdrawn their names from the competition concerning Zika Virus. This leaves Sweden’s Henrik Stenson the front runner for the gold medal. Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Great Britain’s Justin Rose are others who will be watched carefully.
The women section will be spearheaded by New Zealand’s Lydia ko who is a strong contender for the yellow metal. She is however expected to receive a stiff competition from Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Canada’s Brooke Henderson.
3 Golfers from India are eyeing for the gold medal. Experienced Anribran Lahiri and Shiv Chawrasia will be the nation’s challenge in the men’s section while, Aditi Ashok is the face of nation in the women’s section.
Lahiri is the best bet from our side. Often considered to be one of the best in India, Lahiri would love to put in a standard performance. He has won 18 professional titles in his careers so far and is currently top ranked Asian Golfer in the world at present. He also won Silver Medal for India at the 2006 Asian Games at Dhoha.
As far as Shiv Chawrasia is concerned, he is ranked 44th in the Golf federation’s Olympics ranking list which was enough for him to qualify for the big event. (TOP 60 qualified for the Rio). His strength is the short game and therefore was nicknamed “Chip-Putt-Sia”. He is also a proud winner of Hero India Open in 2016 and Avantha Masters in 2011.
Aditi Ashok is a teen golf sensation from India and will be carrying Nation’s hope on her debut Olympics. She will use all her experience she has gathered in such a short span of time. Ashok created history by becoming the youngest to win the Lalla Aicha Tour School. She thus secured her ladies European card for the 2016 season.
Format of the game-
The competitors will play a 72-hole individual stroke play tournament. In the event of a tie for any of the first three positions, a three-hole playoff will determine the medal winners.
The men’s competition will take place from August 11 to 14 and the women’s event is scheduled for August 17 to 20.
You know what an marvelous fact about Golf.. It was played on the moon in 1971 when US astronaut Alan Shepherd exited Apollo14 and hit a 6-iron shot.
In this Olympics Indian Aditi Ashok( she is 18 years old ) is the youngest Golfer in the fray, while, Mathew Catriona of USA is the oldest competitor at 46.
The lure of a gold medal has surely attracted some of the sport’s big names making it worth watching and adding a little glamour to the Olympics.