Klára discusses her Road to Rio…
Something happened recently that made me think of the Olympic Games. It was before our event in Morocco and I went to a pub with some friends for a drink and to chat, just normal stuff, catching up on the gossip and swapping stories from the season so far.
While sitting in the bar, a young guy came over and asked if he could have his picture taken with me. He knew I was a golfer because he’d seen me on TV talking about the Olympics.
I remember this because that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often. I’ve played for my country since I was 12 years old as an amateur golfer and only rarely do I get recognised and in the Czech Republic. On the whole, women professional golfers can often go about their business uninterrupted by the general public. Of course, many women golfers are well known around the world, but most of us are famous only in golfing circles, rarely among the broader Czech population.
The Olympic Games is different. The Olympics brings in a new type of sports fan. People who often wouldn’t classify themselves as golf fans, or fans of track and field, or rowing or weightlifting or swimming. But during the Games, there is a halo around the athletes of these and many other sports: they are all golden.
Even people who don’t normally watch or play sport, watch the Olympics, and I think that will be great for golf, especially in the Czech Republic. At the moment a lot of people think it’s not sport because you’re not sweating and you’re not running, so I hope that more kids and more people will play after the Olympics.
One of the messages that golf will send via the Olympics is that it is a sport in the full sense, played by athletes. They sweat and the train and there is a huge psychological part to our sport, that bears comparison with all the other more traditional Olympic sports.
Hopefully it will help grow the game in the Czech Republic. We are crazy about sport and to have golf involved is fantastic for the Czech Golf Federation and the golf industry in the country. We have an active PGA in the Czech Republic and they deliver a good programme. My coach Keith Williams is a true PGA coach…He’s achieved so many things in all areas of the game in the UK and it’s like having a guarantee or standard of quality.
That works for me! Just to be a part of the largest sporting event in the world, staged once every four years, wearing your national colours in the first golf tournament staged in modern times at the Olympics is…as they say in the UK… a ‘no brainer’!”