Golfer Pacific

Should golf be in the Olympics?

Posted in Australian Golf,Golf,Olympics,Tiger Woods by golferpacific on April 23, 2009

olympic_rings1FORGET about handicaps and course rating systems for a moment.

There’s an issue in golf that is slightly more topical and what’s more, is yet to be resolved after 100 years of trying.

It’s always ticked me off why golf isn’t in the Olympic Games?

Not since 1904 in St Louis has golf been part of the greatest sporting festival in the world.

On that occasion, only the United States and Canada took part, which was probably the catalyst for its downfall.

But times have changed and it’s about time world sport crawled out of the ice ages.

My frustration comes not from golf’s Olympic omission, but the logic – or lack of – in the criteria that has allowed other sports to enjoy gold medal glory in its place.

I must stress I use the term ‘other sports’ very loosely.

Can you name the 2004 Olympic gold medallists in handball?

I didn’t think so.

For the record it was Croatia and that’s a couple of minutes of researching that I’ll never get back.

But has the penny finally dropped with the International Olympic Committee?

Is golf set for a triumphant return to the big stage in 2016?

If Tiger Woods and a growing army of the world’s best players get their way, the Masters green jacket could soon play a back seat to the prestigious gold medal on offer every four years.

World No.1 Woods recently wrote a personal plea to accompany a 32-page brochure sent to the IOC, outlining golf’s bid to return to the ranks currently shared by such glamour sports as synchronised swimming, archery and table tennis.

Okay, I like to play table tennis, but what part of the selection criteria has it passed that golf wouldn’t?

I’m wracking my brains too.

Golf is both an individual and team game that requires immense skill and concentration, draws large crowds, has no set time for completion and has a major professional and amateur playing base that would rival any sport around the globe – even soccer.

What’s more, it boasts the world’s most recognizable athlete in Woods, so the marketing takes care of itself.

Michael Phelps is internationally recognised as the world’s best swimmer through his exploits at the Olympics.

It’s only fair that Woods gets a chance to justify his undisputed title in the same capacity, is it not?

And what better way for our own Karrie Webb to return to the top of the tree in women’s golf than by singing the national anthem with the gold medal draped round her neck?

She would hand back her two US Open crowns in a heartbeat for that Kodak moment and why wouldn’t you?

It’s actually a refreshing thought to picture our best golfers playing for the pride of their country instead of a truck-load of cash.

The IOC could open the race for the gold medal to the five best golfers from each competing country and perhaps play a four-round stroke tournament on four different top class courses in the host nation.

Or maybe even hold the gold medal tournament in a match-play format, where individuals, pairs or four-man teams eliminate one another in a knockout competition similar to that of the prestigious President’s Cup.

Whatever the format, golf certainly has the potential to spark the Olympic flame again, and certainly on face value it’s hard to see how it doesn’t warrant serious consideration. Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia have all forced the issue with their respective IOC members.

Surely weight of numbers has to count for something?

With a decision to be made in October, one feels the next few months will be a case of ‘sink or swim’ for world golf.

Either way, just spare us the synchronised swimming…please!


  • Do you think golf should be included in the Olympics? Tell us yor thoughts below and your comments could get published in the next edition of Golfer Pacific

10 Responses to 'Should golf be in the Olympics?'

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  1. MrOlmpia said,

    Vote 1: Golf for the Olympics!!!
    Let’s get in in!! But why do we have to wait until 2016?

  2. Geoff said,

    As far as I can see, Golf would only help enhance the profile of the Olympic Games given the world-wide exposure Tiger Woods generates.
    Woods is all class and deserves a gold medal, as does Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy.
    If we’re not watching these guys battle in out in 2016, I’ll give it away.

  3. Don't Shank It said,

    It’s only a matter of time before they give golf the all-clear for the Games.
    Hell, if Tiger wants it, he’ll get it.
    What format they run will be interesting. I agree a Presidents Cup matchplay tournament would be fantastic and unite world golf as one.
    We Aussies might just beat the Yanks with Ogilvy, Allenby, Scott, Appleby and Goggin firing…

  4. ThenextTiger said,

    If synchronised swimming is an Olympic sport, Golf has to be…surely?
    What a joke!

  5. SweetSwinger said,

    Golf shouldn’t be shown on TV, let alone the Olympics.
    Sorry Tiger, your sport doesn’t stand a chance!!!!

  6. Martin said,

    We see enough of the Pro’s on TV already. Why not stay with the supposed Olympic ideal and make it an opportunity for the best amateur players from each participating nation to compete? It would make an excellent stage for those up and coming players to begin their careers on the world golfing scene. And for those who think that amateurs are not up to the challenge I would remind them that an amateur won a Pro tournament in Perth recently against some of the worlds best professionals.

  7. I would love to see golf in the Olympics, but the process of inclusion is not the same as suggested in the article. The IOC mandates certain core sports as compulsory inclusions and then bid cities can add additional sports from an approved list plus each bid city can add a single sport not otherwise provided for. However there is a maximum number of sports that can be included in any one Olympics.
    Bid cities need to garner the support of IOC delegate countries, so they would include a sport that is likely to enhance their chances of winning the right to stage the Games.
    Each sport’s controlling body is critical in the approval process, one of the complications with golf (not a deal breaker, but a complication) is that golf does not have a single controlling body, but rather the R&A and USGA.
    The synchronised swimming people have presumably worked harder for inclusion than have the golf people – whilst I don’t want to watch synchronised swimming and several other sports that I class as “minor”, I respect their right of inclusion.
    The issue is bigger than personalities such as Tiger Woods and it may well be that he would not be eligible for the US team. The USGA could easily move to protect the status of their majors, Presidents and Ryder Cups by adopting a similar approach that FIFA has done with soccer – only three players in each team over the age of 23yrs, so that the Soccer in Olympics never rivals the World Cup. World Cup

  8. Peter Manaena said,

    this sport is clean, is full of role models for our kids, has a host of champions from all countries that could win on any given day, world class facilities available in most countries and has a man called “Tiger”, it should be a given but of course we are dealing with political type people who have been found wanting on most olympic issues. Golf isnt corrupt enough for them. It has to be stroke.

  9. pINTO said,

    I DON’T think golf should be included in the Olympics. BUT I don’t think tennis, football (soccer), table tennis, or anything apart from track and field, rowing, swimming and events that date back to the original olympics. Any sport that involves a ball, club, raquet, gun, etc, doesn’t belong (Equestrian doesn’t bother me). But if they are going to keep all these other sports in the games then golf should most definately be included.

  10. john said,

    the best format to use is the chess matchplay format
    every player gets to play every round
    the players are at the end graded from 1st to last
    this requires a binary number of paticipants and is by far the most fair method of grading
    The last round is between two players who have won every game for the gold metal while the player who may have lost his first game is still a chance to win silver as one of the players has to lose in the final round
    To ensure a result and seed subsequent rounds the matches would have to extend past 18 for a sudden death result to be posted.
    Using an elimination draw method is not really very good to grade the players or teams for that matter the chess method is far superior and every player gets to play each round hense each country has an interest right down to the last placed players who are trying to make sure they don’t come last.
    At least Golf has a proud record of no use of drugs not something that can be proclaimed for most of the other sports one very important fact.
    Perhaps a team and individual in both sexes would be most appropriate limited to the top 32, 64 or 128 countries who would have to qualify with preliminary events
    128 players would need 7 rounds to play which would be 7 days
    the same for the match play which wuuld fit the time schedual perfectly
    with perhaps the first 4 matches played before the offical 10 day start to the games
    If the usual format was used with teams event first followed by individual i feel this format would meet with great approval by all nations.

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