This has nothing to do with any sort of antipathy that many people believe exists between the worlds top two players. It has to do with the fact that Fay, the USGAs executive director, believes golf should be an individual sport at the Olympic level.
For the sake of discussion, lets assume for a moment that golf were on the 2008 Olympic program in Beijing, Fay wrote in an e-mail to GOLF CHANNEL. If it were a team competition, consider the possibilities for some countries where there are outstanding individual players but not necessarily outstanding teams (Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Korea (men), Japan, Fiji).
Sure, one could have both, but weve been sensitive in the past to the IOCs desire to limit the total number of athletes.
The earliest golf could debut in the Olympics would be 2016. Currently there are seven cities'Chicago, Prague, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Baku (Azerbaijan), Doha (Qatar) and Madrid'vying to be the host city.
If golf gets in; if Fays model is adopted; and if Woods and Mickelson both throw their hats in the Olympics five-ring circus; they will be teammates only in the sense that they will both represent the United States. If Woods is the low medalist, he will receive the gold medal. If Mickelson finishes second, he will get a silver.
Woods and Mickelson would not, under this scenario, be teammates the way Davis Love III and Freddie Couples were when they won four straight World Cups together in the early 90s.
WHY THE OLYMPIC PUSH?:
Whether you like it or not, youre going to be hearing more and more about the concept of golf in the Olympics from the executive suites of golfs highest levels in the days to come.
The powers-that-be, that now also includes PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, recognize, among other things, that the Olympics, in many countries, is the most effective way to tap money sources that can best grow the game worldwide. And with the rising population and economic tides in countries like China and India, these are sources that cannot be ignored.
Fay said we should not be surprised if a member of the International Olympic Committees program committee visits a major golf venue this year--most likely Birkdale and the Open Championship because of its proximity to IOC headquarters in Switzerland.
Chicago, meanwhile, is not believed to be a current frontrunner for the 2016 Olympics. But if it is named the host city and if golf gets into its Olympics, the choice of golf course will be up to the host city organizing committee and the United States Olympic Committee.
Way back in 1992, when golf was being contemplated for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Fay first met Billy Payne. Payne was the driving force behind the Atlanta games. Now he is chairman of the Masters Tournament.
Fay actually spoke to the IOCs program committee in Switzerland in 1992. And, he says now, Our format has always contemplated that the competition be individual stroke play, for both men and women.
QUIETLY BART BRYANT:
If Champions Tour player Brad Bryant is Dr. Dirt, PGA TOUR player Bart Bryant (Brads younger brother) is Mr. Stealth.
Unobtrusively, Bart Bryant finished third at last weeks EDS Byron Nelson Championship, earning a check for $430,000.
He now ranks 15th on the money list; 13th on the FedExCup point standings; 12th on the Ryder Cup point standings; and is up to No. 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Not bad for a 45-year-old veteran who has made the leap from journeyman to elite player at a relatively late stage of his career.
In recent weeks Bryants agent, Mark Johnston, has been doubling as his caddie while Bob Mr. Clean Chaney recovers from a bad back.
Contacted earlier this week, Johnston, whose clients also include Steve Lowery, Ken Duke and Brad Bryant, emphasized that his looping duties are strictly temporary until Chaney returns.
EURO RYDER BIND:
Speaking of Ryder Cup points, if the European team was named tomorrow, based on the qualifying standards, the following players could only make the team as Nick Faldos Captains picks:
Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.
Sure, theres a lot of golf left before the Aug. 31 deadline for Faldos team to be finalized. But its beginning to look more and more like U.S. captain Paul Azinger may have, temporarily at least, outflanked Faldo.
For starters, Azinger has four captains picks to Faldos two. And Azinger wont be naming those picks until September 2, two days after Faldo shows his hand.
NO HAGGIS, PLEASE:
Its never too early to start speculating on what the current Masters champion has in mind for the traditional Champions dinner during Masters week next year.
This time the current champion is South African Trevor Immelman. And, he said, we shouldnt be surprised if boeries on the braai (barbecued sausage) and boboeti (a mince dish served on rice) are on the menu at Augusta National.
All, presumably, complemented by a fine South African sauvignon blanc. Yes, Immelman said of the clean, crisp wine that has increasingly impressed the wine critics in recent years, there will definitely be some of that around, for sure.
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