Melbourne: World Cup winner Jason Day has called on Olympic officials to consider sticking with the “team” element of competition when golf returns to the Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Golf will be staged at both the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics for the first time since 1904 — but as a “demonstration” sport, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to vote in 2017 as to whether to reintroduce it full-time from 2024.
This week’s $8 million (Dh29.3 million) World Cup of Golf, held at the Royal Melbourne in Australia, was intended to mirror the likely format in 2016 — but was in stark contrast to every year dating back to the inaugural World Cup in 1953, when players competed alongside their fellow countrymen in a fourball and foursomes format.
Instead, Day never once played alongside his victorious teammate Adam Scott in the 72-hole stroke play event. It was only through the luck of the draw that two of the 26 teams played alongside each other over the four days of competition, and that the German and Brazilian sides found themselves paired over the final round.
“My message to the Olympic Games organisers is that it would be good thing if teammates could play together in Rio and if Adam and I should get there to represent Australia,” said Day.
“If we play together we could help each other out as teammates as they do in other Olympic team sports.
“I know at present Adam doesn’t need that much support given the way he is playing, but if we went to the Olympics and played alongside each other as teammates that is going to help.”
He continued: “The format was great this week and Adam and I can’t complain about the result, and it’s kind of hard not to like it when you win, but I think the Olympic organisers should pair all the teams together.
“And unlike this week, they should also make it a rule where we can help and support our teammate as that would go a long way.”
Day added: “If the team aspect was put in place and every team played alongside each other that would draw bigger crowds to the golf.”
Scott supported Day’s call.
“It’s hard enough not to like the format when Jason and I are sitting here as winners,” he said.
“But then I still would have liked to spend the four days alongside Jason as a team playing fourball and that is my only comment against this week’s format.
“Of course, nothing against the guys I played alongside,” he added with a smile.