New Australian Olympic golf captain Karrie Webb says a teams event would better showcase the best of the sport to a worldwide audience but isn’t expecting the format to change for the 2024 Paris Games.
Golfing legend Webb will take the reins from Ian Baker-Finch, who lauded the Hall of Famer as the best golfer Australia has produced, putting the seven-time major winner ahead of Greg Norman and five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson.
Webb missed out on representing Australia when golf was reintroduced to the Olympics at Rio in 2016 but, having been part of the push to get her sport into the Games, was excited to get involved.
“Getting golf into the Olympics, I was a part of that. For me it really set my sights to extend my full-time playing career to be on that team in 2016,” she said on Friday.
“Ironically, I was pipped out of that team by two of my scholarship winners but couldn’t have been happier for Minjee (Lee) and Su (Oh).”
“I am just happy to be in the fold and be a part of Olympic process. And to help at least four Aussie realise their Olympic dreams.”
Olympic officials refused a push from players to change the format from a normal 72-hole stroke for the Games, and it’s unlikely to change for Paris.
But the introduction of nine mixed men’s and women’s events at the Winter Olympics in Beijing could give cause for hope of change in the future for golf.
“I would like to see the team aspect of golf introduced, but I’m not sure that it will be for the 2024 Games. I’d like to see maybe a couple of days where it’s maybe mixed four-ball, where the men and women are playing together as a team,” Webb said.
“It would also showcase to people who aren’t fans of golf, but are watching because they are watching the Olympics, there are other versions of the game to be played.”
Webb said carrying the Olympic flame in Sydney before the 2000 Games was “the coolest thing” she had done away from the golf course.
“The Olympic Games are very special to me and I’m a patriotic Australian, so to have an opportunity to work with the best Australian players on the biggest stage in sport is incredibly powerful,” she said.,
“Aside from all that I’m very familiar with all the players who are likely to be in contention to play in Paris and, in some cases, they are close friends of mine.
“Our best Australian players continue to fly our flag so well internationally and I know they will do so in Paris 2024 hopefully coming away with a medal or two. That’s what I’d love to see.”
AUSTRALIAN GOLFERS AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Rio 2016: Scott Hend 39th, Marcus Fraser 5th, Minjee Lee 7th, Su Oh 13th.
Tokyo 2020: Hannah Green 5th, Minjee Lee 29th, Cameron Smith 10th, Marc Leishman 51st.