Thursday, August 13, 2009

Golf in the Olympics -- a gold medal for the game

I must admit that I've never been taken by the notion of golf returning to the Olympics, something that is all but official now that the IOC's Executive Board has endorsed including golf in the 2016 Games.

Golf has its major championships and Olympic gold, sweet as it may be, won't suddenly leap to the top of the list of most important achievements for players. Plus, I've always thought of the Olympics as a place for other sports -- track and field and swimming, particularly -- to have their moment.

Baseball and tennis, for example, have seemed awkward fits to me. Do you know who won tennis gold last year?

Having said that, golf's return to the Olympics -- it was last part of the Games in 1904 -- comes at a critical time for the sport. It's inclusion isn't so much about whether Tiger Woods wins a gold medal -- he's already the favorite in 2016 though no one's sure where the Games or the golf will be played.

Golf is more global than it's ever been and getting a spot in the Olympics only strengthens the game. It enhances its image in places around the world where it may not be front and center and it's sure to draw more people to the game.

There's a reason all of the game's prominent organizations and many of the game's top stars made an aggressive effort to get golf back in the Games -- to grow the game. Having Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam speak on behalf of the Olympic effort was a strong endorsement and hearing Tiger say he'd represent the U.S. in the Games is huge.

Golf in the Olympics won't change what Augusta means in April or replace the British Open as the unofficial world championship. It will, however, bring the game to more people around the world.


Anonymous said...

golf is for old men

i don't see too many old dudes in the olympics

if golf gets in, lets put in poker as well

Anonymous said...


as long as beach volleyball is in I am happy