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