Add Lewis, Whan to those who support team format


RIO DE JANEIRO – As successful as last week’s men’s competition was, and Justin Rose’s reaction to winning his gold medal was evidence of that, there has still been an undercurrent of support for possibly mixing up the format for the 2020 Games.

“I would like to see a team aspect, maybe a two-person team score, not necessarily a match play format,” American Stacy Lewis said. “It would be fun to stand on the podium by yourself, but it definitely would be fun to stand up there with someone else.”

When asked on Tuesday if the International Golf Federation, which runs golf in the Olympics, would consider adding a team portion to the competition LPGA commissioner Mike Whan was enthusiastic in his support of the idea.

“I absolutely can. I don’t know that all the board members on the IGF agree with me, but I can see it,” Whan said.

Whan explained that the International Olympic Committee is generally open-minded to adding medal opportunities, just not adding more athletes to what is already a massive operation.

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Whan said he could see adding a team element to the Games and perhaps even a mixed teamed event, which could include both the men and women, but that golf wanted to take a conservative approach to its return to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years.

“We talked about getting into the Olympics and doing the little things right. We realized we had a lot to learn. We all know how to run tournaments, we’ve never been a part of the Olympics,” Whan said. “We wanted to have what we called an authentic winner, four days of stroke play, but we all agreed it was for ’16. That wasn’t ’16 and beyond.”