Golf clears important hurdle en route to 16 Olympics

By Rex HoggardAugust 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
CHASKA, Minn. ' Golfs Olympic bid cleared its second, and some would say most daunting, hurdle Thursday when it was announced that the International Olympic Committees executive board had recommended the sport for submission into the 2016 Games.
The vote ' which recommended golf and Rugby sevens be added to the Olympic lineup starting in 16 ' occurred in Berlin and set up a final vote by the full IOC on Oct. 9 in Denmark.
Tiger Woods PGA Championship
During his Tuesday press conference at Hazeltine, Tiger Woods said he would like to play in the Olympics. (Getty Images)
When you have an opportunity to present the game of golf worldwide there is no singular decision or singular program that can globalize the game like a nod from the IOC to join the Olympics, said Joe Steranka, CEO of the PGA of America who was on hand at Hazeltine National for the announcement.
Golf advocates now await the next challenge, a full vote by the 107-member IOC. Ty Votaw, the executive director of the IGFs Olympic Golf Committee, was still awaiting word on how the final vote will occur.
The committee could decide to vote on golf and rugby as a block, approving or rejecting both, or individually.
Were in unchartered territory as far as this procedure goes, Votaw said.
Golfs push to earn a spot in the 2016 Games got a boost this week when Tiger Woods and many of the worlds top players voiced their support for the game.
Golf is a truly global sport and I think it should have been in the Olympics awhile ago, Wood said.
Many details remain to be worked out if golf is to earn a spot at the Olympic table. The recommended format is for a 72-hole, stroke play event that would feature 60-player mens and womens fields picked from the World Ranking. Votaw said the option for a play-in event that would give countries outside the top 100 in the world ranking a shot at an Olympic start has been discussed.
How the Olympics would fit into golfs crowded summer schedule also remains to be seen. Depending on the host city ' the IOC will decide on Oct. 2 the venue for the 16 Games, a list that includes Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro ' the Games could be played anytime from July 22 to late August ' a window that includes the British Open and PGA Championship.
Despite the uncertainties, organizers say the potential to grow golf globally that comes with an Olympic bid is impossible to ignore.
In many countries the Olympics are the pinnacle of athletic achievement, Votaw said. Because golf hasnt been in the Olympics, many people have not followed our sport. This is a chance to introduce the game to them.
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