Format key to golfs inclusion in Olympics
GolfChannel.com has learned that one early favorite, among the plans being considered, calls for every country to be allowed two players into the Olympic golf competition with one key exception: Any country with more than two players in the top 10 in the world rankings would be allowed to enter all of its top 10 players.
PGA Tour executive vice president Ty Votaw, who is serving as the point man for the International Golf Federation in its quest for admission to the Olympics, told GolfChannel.com, in a phone interview from Switzerland late Thursday, that the IOC, wants to know the format because they want to know whether or not all the worlds best players will participate.
Votaw said the IGF is still formulating final plans on just how Olympic golf would look and added that his organization will submit responses to a detailed questionnaire in March that constitute the formal and technical bid.
Votaw appeared Thursday before the IOCs Programme(cq) Commission at the IOCs headquarters in Lausanne. He was accompanied by Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A and joint secretary of the IGF.
During the presentation, the IOC saw a series of film clips showing support from many of the worlds top players. The list included Lorena Ochoa and Tiger Woods, the No. 1 ranked woman and man, respectively, in the world. Other supporting testimony came from Annika Sorenstam, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Paula Creamer, Sergio Garcia and many other international golf stars.
Votaw said a match play format was not off the table at this point. Nor, he said, had the possibility of combining medal and match play been ruled out by the IGF.
The IOC has received bids from seven different sports for inclusion into the 2016 games. No more than two of those seven sports ' golf, baseball, karate, roller sports, rugby sevens, softball and squash ' will be granted entrance by the IOC. Baseball and softball are applying for reinstatement.
The IOC is expected to announce which, if any, of these applications are successful in October of 2009. At that time the IOC is also expected to name its 2016 venue for the Summer Games. The four finalist cities are Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.
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Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award
The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.
The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.
Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.
The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.
A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.
Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.
South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.
Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.
The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout
It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.
Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.
Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.
"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."
Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.
Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.
Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top
The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.
The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."
Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.