Golf is back, and Rose strikes gold
The last time golf was part of the Olympic Games was back in 1904. For the last 112 years, the 'game for the elite' was shelved. When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved a return for golf in the 2016 Olympics, there were many doubters. Some top players skipped the event under the pretext of fear of the Zika virus, yet the event assembled a stellar field of 60 from around the world.
There were no hefty paychecks here for the taking, no sponsored sports cars for firing albatrosses or hole-in-ones. What there was was pride; pride of winning an Olympic medal; pride of being in the same bracket as Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps; pride of seeing the national flag raised to the anthem.
And after three days of riveting contest at the purpose-designed Rio Olympic Golf Course, an intriguing final day vindicated golf's return to the games as Britain's Justine Rose nicked the title by two strokes from Sweden's Henrik Stenson.
"Honestly this is just a dream come true. I have been thinking about Rio for a long, long time. It is just crazy, just so good," Rose told reporters afterwards at the press conference.
After having gone to the final hole tied with Rose, Stenson cracked at the final hole with a poor chip, leaving the door open for the Brit, who surged to victory with a tap-in birdie following a majestic chip.
The 36-year-old Rose, who had got the crowd on their feet on the opening day with the Olympic Games' first hole-in-one -- said that the exciting finale in front of big crowds should guarantee the game's spot beyond Tokyo 2020.
"To anybody making the decision going forward, I would just ask them, were you in Rio on Sunday?" Rose said. "I think it was a sell-out which is more than some of the other events I'm watching on TV where there's been a lot of open spots in stadiums," Rose added.
As the Union Jack was raised with the 'God Save The Queen' playing in the background, Rose said he felt extremely emotional and proud to be able to be at this position and to have achieved what he did on Sunday. "That was a really surreal moment," Rose said. "It's a moment we've seen in other sports. It felt very different to any other tournament. Obviously when the national anthem goes up, it's a very profound moment. It's a very proud moment when you are able to share this moment with people back home."