Should you wish to accept this mission to improve on the current 72-hole stroke play format and help save golf's 2016 return to the Olympic Games, you will likely be helping an effort that is doomed to not inspire golf fans due to the uninspired format.
As someone who has been lamenting the format for almost two years now, it's exciting to see so much discussion and awareness of the current Olympic golf limitations.
Now, you must understand that there are very strict parameters within which you must work in proposing an alternative.
- The fields will consist of 60 men and 60 women. That is not changing in 2016 due to the IOC's stance on beds.
- The competition should be held over four days, but if you have good reason, we can extend to five or a partial sixth day.
- You can add an additional gold/silver/bronze medal, say for a separate match play portion of the event. The IOC apparently doesn't mind giving out another medal.
- You can try to introduce a team element but it must work within the confines of some sort of stroke play format.
With that said, I'll repeat my favored tweak within the parameters: Day one and two consists of 36 holes of stroke play, 18 holes each day.
That is followed by a cut to forty players or those within 10 shots of the lead. Day three is a 36-hole round to determine the gold medal.
Day four would consist of the low eight from stroke play, contesting morning and afternoon matches. Day five would consist of morning semi-finals, followed by an 18-hole match for a second gold medal to the match play winner and a bronze medal match for third.
This format is designed to make athleticism and fitness key to winning both medals, which I believe would be a feat comparable to winning a major championship. As much as it pains me, I don't see how a team format works within the current structure. After all, the worst team play event in golf is better than 99% of stroke play.