Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Golf and the Olympics?

Apparently, with the Olympics near and Augusta calling for ideas to grow the game globally, all kinds of chatter is starting again about making golf an Olympic sport.

PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem offered his support Tuesday for golf to become an Olympic sport, an endorsement that could give golf its strongest chance since it was dropped from the Olympic program more than 100 years ago.

“While there remain questions to be answered and issues to be resolved, I believe the time is now right to move forward,” Finchem said on a blog he posted on the tour’s Web site.

Because the International Olympic Committee requires seven years for a sport to be added, the earliest golf could be part of the Olympics is 2016. The IOC will meet next year to vote on a host for the 2016 Games and decide whether to include additional sports.
Here is the interesting kicker in all of this, in my mind:
Any bid would have to come through the International Golf Federation, which the IOC recognizes as golf’s ruling body for the Olympics. It is run jointly by USGA executive director David Fay and Royal & Ancient Golf Club chief executive Peter Dawson.
Well, I am glad that Jim Vernon is now in charge. Walter Driver may have been enraged at knowing he could not have a hand in this.

Tiger, of course, is mentioned in the article because his opinion counts above all.
What remains uncertain is whether the Olympics interest Tiger Woods, the world’s No. 1 player and biggest attraction. When this first came up at the start of the decade, Woods pointed to four major championships with equal value held every year.

“I don’t think it would be a big priority in our game,” he said in 2000.

Fay said the key would be to have most of the top players involved, not every one. The biggest boost is support is from golf’s brass.

“The most important thing is to get the professional bodies behind it,” Fay said. “And then it’s good ol’ fashioned lobbying. And we’re willing to do that.”
The suggested format, though, sucks. It would be 50 men and 50 women for 72 holes of stroke play. WE DO THAT EVERY WEEK! The least they could do is make it interesting by having some kind of team event or something like that.

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