THE HOLE TRUTH

Aug 10 2016


The Olympic men's golf tournament gets underway Thursday morning (6:30 a.m. EDT, TSN2) and that's the good news.



The bad news is we haven't been able to watch the pre-tournament content on The Golf Channel here in Canada because it has been blocked to protect the CBC's Olympic broadcast rights.

It would have been satisfying to be able to watch the pre-tournament hype on The Golf Channel. I could live with the CBC blocking out The Golf Channel during the play-by-play windows (think of how we have to watch the Canadian commercials during the Super Bowl).

Fine.

But I pay for The Golf Channel and right now all I'm getting are reruns of The Big Break (though in an interesting twist, I had forgotten Gerina Piller (then Mendoza) was on Big Break PEI and now she's playing in the Olympics).

Maybe the CBC should reimburse all of us Golf Channel subscribers for the two weeks we're being denied its content?

I get it, to a certain extent. The CBC has probably paid north of $75 million for the rights to broadcast and stream the events at Rio and allowing The Golf Channel to show Olympic themed content could siphon away viewers.

The CBC has sold off rights to TSN and Sportsnet to defray its expenditure of taxpayers' dollars.

So we've had to put up with constant reruns of The Big Break here in Canada while our American cousins get to watch Live from the Olympics (they've been going daily from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. since Monday) with all kinds of good stuff with Frank and Brandel breaking it down.

We're just not going to get the pre- and post-round coverage we've come to expect at the big events and that's frustrating.

Canada's Graham DeLaet will be in the first group off Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. with a hometown guy, Addison da Silva of Brazil and Ben Hun of South Korea.

David Hearn is off at 8:25 a.m. with Jaco van Syl of South Africa and Mikko Ilonen of Finland.

Brooke Henderson, of course, is representing Canada in Rio and she and teammate Alena Sharp of Hamilton and Canadian Olympic women's coach Tristan Mullally were off to Houston on Wednesday for a two-day training camp.

Mullally has been doing exhaustive preparation work for the tournament and found a course in Houston that has grass similar to the Olympic course.

They'll head to Rio on Friday.

The women's tournament is next Wednesday through Saturday.

The Olympic golf course was designed by Gil Hanse. You'll notice the sand in the bunkers is different colours because they used the sand indigenous to the area and it has different hues. There's brown, white and orange sand and each will have different playing characteristics so it's something players will have to take into consideration.

Given what he had to work with, Hanse used the courses in Australia's sand belt region as inspiration for the Olympic design.

The toughest holes are in the middle of the round with some birdie holes on the way in to encourage a late run and some drama.

Like a lot of links style or sand belt courses, wind will be the determining factor in how difficult the course will play on any given day.

Canadian architect Ian Andrew helped with the construction of the Olympic course and carried on a Canadian tradition started at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake.

The ice maker in Salt Lake, Trent Evans, buried a Loonie under centre ice at the E-Center. Canada went on to win both the men's and women's gold medals in hockey.

Andrew buried a Loonie about 18 inches deep on the 18th green where he thought the final pin placement would be.

Andrew spent about 10 days in Rio and did some excavator and bulldozer work.

If you would like more of these deep and meaningful insights, follow me on Twitter: @CJ_Stevenson

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