Golf Officials Bid For Olympic Spot

If Tiger Woods is still as competitive in eight years time as he is now, he may be looking to go where neither Jack, Arnold, Gary, Snead, Jones nor any of the other greats of the past century have been – Olympic gold.

That’s right. Golf is making another push to be part of the 2016 Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will meet next year to decide on the 2016 hosts and whether or not to change the sporting roster.

Before anyone cringes and utters the line “golf is not an Olympic sport”, it should be remembered that golf indeed WAS an Olympic sport long before the likes of badminton, table tennis and other codes came on the scene.

Canadian George Lyon won the last Olympic golfing gold medal at the 1904 games. And it almost sneaked into the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with Augusta National, the home of the Masters, slated to host the event.

However, IOC officials were not happy with Augusta’s exclusive all-male membership so the sport never got a look-in.

To succeed in its bid, golf would need the support of all the professional tours. The International Golf Federation, which would front any bid, would also have to convince the IOC that the sport is global enough to warrant interest among fans.

The IOC need not be persuaded about golf’s popularity around the world. That is clear from the number of tours, tournaments, golf clubs and players sprouting up from everywhere.

One of their main concerns would be whether golf has succeeded in shedding a perceived elitist status. Basically, does the common man regularly play golf or is it a middle-class to rich sport?

As tennis proved, having an Olympic tournament does not detract from the traditional grand slams such as Wimbledon and the US Open.

Similarly, the Masters, US Open, British Open and PGA Championship would not lose its shine during Olympic years, as PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem told AP writer Doug Ferguson.

“I do not believe that Olympic golf would have any effect on the stature or prestige of these other significant events, but rather would provide another complementary opportunity for our players to compete and demonstrate their skills on a global stage.”

The IGF, which is jointly headed by USGA executive director David Fay and Royal & Ancient Golf Club chief executive Peter Dawson, would be encouraged by Finchem’s backing because they would need tours from the United States, Europe, Japan, Asia and Australia to throw their support behind any bid. Finchem said:

“The most important thing is to get the professional bodies behind it. And then it’s good ol’ fashioned lobbying. And we’re willing to do that.”

As for Tiger, would an Olympic gold count as a major title? Or would have already surpassed Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles come 2016?

If he still feels the same as he did back in 2000, then you might not see him at the Olympics at all, should golf get in. When asked about golf in the Olympics, he replied: “I don’t think it would be a big priority in our game.”

One Response to “Golf Officials Bid For Olympic Spot”

  1. ray kendall says:

    If golf ever became part of the Olympic games, it would be nice if it was open to amateurs only. This would add spice to the viewing as it would be a lot harder to pick a winner as the pro’s it would be down to the usual big guns to fight it out a bit ho hum.

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