I’m thinking the Olympics will be just fine — Rio will be amazing, the security will work, and nobody will get carried off by a Zika Monster. Even the golf will be good, and nobody will notice (much) the top guys who aren’t there. I’ll miss having the Russian track and field team around, just because it’s fun to kick their asses, the damn Russkies.
Olympic golf, however, is having one effect before the Games even begin: It’s playing havoc with majors, for both the men and women. For example, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship are two weeks apart in July. For the women, who have the U.S. Women’s Open this week, their next major is the Women’s British Open, and it’s the same weekend (July 28-31) as the PGA for the men.
The women’s game is fascinating right now. For a women’s major to take a backseat to a men’s — and it will — doesn’t feel right, and it must be pissing off Michael Whan. The women, particularly this current group of players, should have the stage to themselves for their majors.
The USGA’s 71st women’s national championship opens strong with intriguing groups for the first two days. Defending champion In Gee Chun tees off at 8:39 a.m. (Pacific time) Thursday with Stacy Lewis and amateur Hannah O’Sullivan, the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion. But the marquee group, off at 2:03 p.m., brings together World No. 1 Lydia Ko, No. 2 Brooke Henderson and No. 4 Lexi Thompson, who at 21 is the elder of the threesome.
The only current player with a firm hold on a spot in my dream foursome takes a shot at a blog this week. Ernie Els writes about his friend Greg Chalmers, who got his first PGA Tour win last weekend; about his favorite golf tournament, The Open Championship; and a lot of other stuff at PGA Tour dot com. Els is one of the good guys.
Update 7-12: Lydia Ko didn’t close the door — shocking! — which opened the door for the USGA to demonstrate once again its grasp on protocol for rules decisions in majors. It’s been running Opens for like 120 years.
Jordan Spieth is forgoing the Olympics — not so shocking — and though he said it was all about health concerns, could it be the bigger deal is the weird schedule the Games is forcing on top professionals?