Golf’s return to the Olympics is drawing raves from fans, even if one local’s embrace nearly went a little too far.

When Anirban Lahiri of India launched his tee shot at the second hole wide right, the ball came to rest a few feet outside the gallery ropes just as a handful of Brazilians approached. One enterprising fan walked over and was about to scoop it up _ apparently thinking that like foul balls in baseball, he was entitled to a souvenir _ when cries of “No! No!” stopped him in his tracks.

“We are still learning the game, as you can see,” laughed Marcello Almeda, who carries and 32 handicap and made the 300-mile trip from the city of Victoria in the north to Rio. “It’s a beautiful sport, but we don’t have too many players as yet.”

The gallery Thursday at the Olympic Golf Course was an eclectic one, to be sure. The guide handed to spectators included the usual map of holes, but a glossary of terms and “Tips for Spectators” as well.

Two tell-tale signs that guide was for novices: No. 8 read “wear sunscreen,” and No. 9 warned “Never a catch a ball, even if it is front of you.”


We are still learning the game, as you can see.