Golf Trying to Make Another Olympic Push

By Associated PressApril 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
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 tours 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.
 
Any bid would have to come through the International Golf Federation, which the IOC recognizes as golfs ruling body for the Olympics. It is run jointly by USGA executive director David Fay and Royal & Ancient Golf Club chief executive Peter Dawson.
 
Golf last was played in the Olympics in 1904, with George Lyon of Canada winning the gold medal.
 
It almost was part of the Atlanta Games in 1996'at Augusta National, no less'until IOC member Anita DeFrantz and others criticized the clubs all-male membership, and the fact it had only recently taken a black member.
 
The last attempt for Olympic golf came in 2005.
 
It failed for a pragmatic reason, Fay said. Its not going to succeed unless the professional tours are behind it. We havent had the professional bodies express support for it since Atlanta.
 
Finchem said golf as an Olympic sport would promote growth around the world. And while he mentioned that golf already has four majors, three World Golf Championships and The Players Championship, he thought there was room for golf in the Olympics.
 
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, he said.
 
What remains uncertain is whether the Olympics interest Tiger Woods, the worlds 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 dont 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 golfs brass.
 
The most important thing is to get the professional bodies behind it, Fay said. And then its good ol fashioned lobbying. And were willing to do that.
 
In the most recent proposal for golf to join the Olympics, officials suggested 72 holes for stroke play with 50 men and 50 women, with eligibility determined by the world ranking. No country could have more than three players.
 
Golf is ripe for Olympic involvement with quality players from more countries. In the past several years, Jeev Milkha Singh became the first player from India to win a European tour event; the Masters has invited two players from China; and Angel Cabrera gave South America its first major champion in 40 years.
 
Finchem said the biggest obstacle would be scheduling, including his FedEx Cup, which concludes with four big tournaments at the end of the regular season, with $10 million going to the winner.
 
Fay said the World Golf Foundation, of which he is the chairman for the next two years, likely would meet over the next few months to start developing a plan. The foundation includes leaders from all major golf organizations, including Augusta National Golf Club.
 
Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National who ran the Atlanta Games, wants to see golf in the Olympics.
 
Im a great advocate of golf being part of the program and think it belongs there, Payne said last week at the Masters. Once a sport is officially accepted into the Olympic program, it becomes entitled to distribution through their committees, to some of the proceeds of finance generated by the Olympics. That would be a way of importantly introducing the game to a lot of countries.
 
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.