BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' If it were up to Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, golfers would be going for the gold.
Having golf an Olympic sport is exponentially more important to the game of golf than the majors, Mickelson said Tuesday from the site of the seasons final major, the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. The reason for that is it would bring in 168 different countries and their Olympic foundation and all those revenues and that would be going towards the growth of the game.
Mickelson said Olympic golf would get increased exposure around the globe, reaching people who may not watch the sport now.
The majors are incredibly big as we know, but we still capture the same audience that (is) already interested in the game, he said.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, European Tour chief George OGrady, LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens, USGA executive director David Fay and Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson met in May with IOC president Jacques Rogge, making the case for golf in the Games.
Its for growing the game around the world and something we can all do together, Finchem said at the time. The value for the players is that the more people that play around the world, the more people will be watching. Theyll be paid back eventually.
Mickelson said scheduling wouldnt be a problem .
Its only once every four years, he said. Its not a big disruption by any means.
The earliest that we could see the sport in the Olympics would be 2016. Mickelson and Furyk would both be 46 then, Tiger Woods would be 40.
Furyk drew a distinction between pros and amateurs competing.
I want to watch the (Olympic sports) where basically professionals arent playing, he said. Where that is the absolute pinnacle of their career and they had to wait four years for this one moment and they go out and they perform ' break a world record, win a gold medal and they were able to perform on the spot.
Dow Finsterwald, who won the 1958 PGA Championship at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, Pa., is a guest at Oakland Hills this week for the 90th edition of the major championship.
Finsterwalds victory came in the first year the tournament was determined by medal rather than match play.
The last three holes, I knew I had a two-shot lead, the 78-year-old said. I didnt step on my big toe and make any bogeys. I parred the last three, nothing heroic.
He also was captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1977, two years before all of Europe was included with the Brits.
Finsterwald shot down the theory that the Europeans, who have won five of the last six matches, are so successful because they are all good friends and travel together.
They talk about all the camaraderie that the Europeans have, Finsterwald said. I dont know about all this camaraderie stuff. Sure, it helps, but the fact is our guys just need to play better.
HOW SOON THEY FORGET
On the massive banner in the interview room, 2003 winner Shaun Micheels name is spelled Shaun Michael.
Joey Harrington hasnt had much success as a quarterback in the NFL, particularly during his years in Detroit.
Maybe he should have tried golf.
The former Detroit and Miami and current Atlanta Falcons signal-caller had two holes-in-one in a span of two weeks in June at the Druid Hills Golf Club in suburban Atlanta on the 132-yard, par-3 6th.
His distant cousin is Padraig Harrington, who won his second consecutive British Open last month at Royal Birkdale. Padraig has discussed the twin aces with his American cousin.
I had him over for dinner in Ireland about six weeks ago, Padraig said Tuesday during preparations for the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills ' in suburban Detroit, where the former Lion had few fans. The first question I asked him, Was it a blind par-3? At home when you have a blind par-3, often the caddies stick the golf balls in the hole. So Ive been teasing him about that.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Rich Beem held off Tiger Woods by a shot to win the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine. He hasnt won an official tour event since.
When a fan called him a legend as he practiced, Beem laughed and said, In my own mind, maybe.
Hunter Mahan, a member of the 156-player field at the PGA Championship, has some experience at Oakland Hills. He advanced to the final of the 2002 U.S. Amateur there before losing 2 and 1 to Ricky Barnes. Theres a chance of thunderstorms each of the first three days of the PGA Championship, with temperatures in the mid-70s to low-80s. Finsterwald reported that he had just spoken to his good friend Arnold Palmer, who received a clean bill of health from the Mayo Clinic this week.