A gold medal for Rose, and for golf

Golf - For once, Kuchar proud to finish third

“It was disappointing that so numerous top men were not here, but it was a great spectacle on Sunday with two of the world’s top players duelling it out [which meant] their absence was forgotten”, Matthew said.

“Nigel Tilley, who is the GB physio, bumped into Andy at the village last night and he said that Andy had watched my last hole before going onto the court, so it was cool that I was able to watch his last two games”, Rose added.

Britain’s Justin Rose was listening to “God Save The Queen” and watching the Union Jack rise into the sky on August 14 while still trying to fully appreciate the historic Olympic gold medal around his neck.

“And the Olympic experience as a whole has exceeded all of my expectations”. I’ve never seen my little boy in tears, and I might start crying myself. New Zealand does not have the depth to form a team for the International Crown, which was the closest event golf had to the Olympics before the Olympics came along.

The final round was a sellout, and fans lined both sides of the fairway for the conclusion.

“It’s amusing, we were walking down 14 or 15 and he said, ‘Where do we lie as far as the medals?’ I said, ‘We’re in pretty good shape, ‘ and he said, ‘Well good that’s freed me up, ‘ ” Fulcher said recalling a conversation with Rose in the final round.

In a scenario that the sport’s promoters could only have dreamt of, and must certainly have prayed for, a tap-in birdie for Stenson at 16 had left the former Ryder Cup team-mates tied going up the 72nd hole, one shot clear of the chasing Matt Kuchar of USA.

So where did Rose hang the gold immediately after returning home?

The notion that second place is first loser doesn’t apply in the Olympics, and that’s what stood out to Rose. But it was deeper than just the guys on the podium. “But I don’t think we’ll improve the spirit and the enjoyment that people extracted from the last four days”.

This is the second time in three years that the women have played on the same course a week after the men.

Then again, maybe the bar was set too low. Then came the Zika virus scare and harrowing stories about security in Rio, and so many players began dropping out that golf was perceived as not caring.

Looking at the mansions that line the road to the newly-built course and the luxury apartments being built alongside it, Dawson’s assertion that the only public course in Rio would somehow be a benefit to grassroots golf in the city seemed somewhat doubtful – it’s hard to imagine favela residents making the long pilgrimage to the outskirts of the city for a cheeky four-ball.

The Rio Games were critical.

“Having won it, now I’d love to see golf have a great legacy in the Olympics and carry on”, he said. But that will not stop him reminding McIlroy and other big names who stayed away from Rio what they missed for the next four years. They knew their contribution could help their country in the medal count.

“I had been holding it in all day”, Rose said. ‘I was hoping the magic he showed might rub off a little if I talked to him, ‘ she said, giggling. “It speaks for itself that this event has gone over well”, Kuchar said. I didn’t think that it would have great support and it really did.