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Golf and the Olympics, not as daft as it seems

Iain Carter | 22:36 UK time, Tuesday, 19 August 2008

One of the first rules of journalism is about to be broken. The purpose of the opening paragraph is to lure the reader and with the next sentence I am about to say a big goodbye to a large percentage of this blog's potential readership. So here goes: Golf should become an Olympic sport.

Cheerio then to the many who believe this stick and ball game should never darken the door of the Games (unless, of course, you're digging in for a dogmatic say at the bottom of the page). For those remaining, thanks are due for at least for giving this contentious notion a chance.

A quick reprise: Golf was played in the 1900 and 1904 Olympics, but not since Canada's George Lyon became the last gold medallist in St Louis and the US won gold, silver and bronze in the team event has the game been a member of the Olympic family.

As has been well documented, golf wants to change this and it is one of seven sports vying for a place in the 2016 Games. A decision will be made in October 2009 when baseball, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash will also be making their cases for inclusion.

For once those who run golf have united under the banner of the International Golf Federation and with drug testing now in place on the main tours a serious bid is being made.

And why not? Well Olympic gold wouldn't compare with a claret jug or a green jacket. Correct. Top golfers are professionals. Correct. The golfing calendar is already too crowded. Correct. The top players wouldn't play. Really? Are you sure they would turn down the chance to play for their country?

As for the other points, do they really matter? Rafael Nadal no doubt covets more his Grand Slam titles but look at his reaction and the effort he made to win gold for his country, likewise Roger Federer. Bear in mind they are also professionals, that Michael Phelps will be rewarded richly for his exploits as will so many of the magnificent Team GB and the pro/amateur argument doesn't wash either - not in the 21st century.

The golfing calendar is crowded. So is that of tennis (the closest relative to golf in the sporting family in terms of structure and global stature) but it finds a way of incorporating the Games. Golf could too. And I'll repeat it again, when countries call, golfers don't tend to say no.

So to the benefits and there are many. Olympic television revenues are ploughed back into the sports to provide facilities, coaching and scholarships. It will help grow the game in parts of the world that haven't traditionally played golf.

It is such a shame that it isn't part of Beijing 2008. I went to the Chinese capital a couple of years ago to report on the spread of golf in the country. It is growing in popularity among the ever swelling business classes. But there has been no state help and golf is still pretty inaccessible to most Chinese people.

This would not have been the case had it been part of the Games. The Chinese government would have made available huge resources to try to unearth another potential gold medallist.

Why should a game as global as golf sit back and watch the biggest sporting party in the world? Why should golfers be some kind of pariahs? It makes no sense. If you want the Games to be all about the best sportsmen and women on the planet then why should arguably the most recognisable, dominant and highest paid athlete (yes, for that is Mr T. Woods of Isleworth, Fla.) not be there?

A major gathering of the world's best outside the United States would be another benefit - all be it only every four years. With three majors and all the WGC events stateside there is currently a ludicrous imbalance.

The IOC would be dealing with the International Golf Federation which would give that body a greater influence on the game. Although there is a strong US presence on the IGF it is a global organisation and there is potential for it to become a vehicle that makes golf less American dominated.

That's only a potential long term benefit though.

It would also provide a platform for the world's best men and women to play at the same venue at the same time - a so far untapped idea that works brilliantly for tennis at Grand Slams and other big tournaments.

There is a case to be made on several grounds, even though there is an awful lot of opposition to the idea among general sports and golf fans alike. I'm convinced, though, that it would be great for golf at all levels and good for the Games. Especially if they ditch the current ultra-conservative idea of yet more 72 hole strokeplay.

It might also lead to the Ryder Cup switching back to odd years to avoid a clash - now that's another argument worth having......


  • Comment number 1.

    I think squash's case is stronger.

  • Comment number 2.

    Don't be daft! Olympic golf!! For athletics, swimming etc. etc. the OLympics are the pinnacle achievement. For golf (and tennis) it's just kind of a semi-serious sideline to the big tournaments.
    Although, some of the more recently added sports do rank alongside tiddlywinks in my opinion....! The Games should probably slim down instead so more countries can afford to host them

  • Comment number 3.

    I hope the BBC didn’t give Iain Carter any money for writing this. A golfing correspondent lobbying for the inclusion of golf in the Olympics is rather a hollow exercise. Also, his reasons for supporting the proposal have very little merit. His argument rests largely the premise that the move would be good for the game of golf. This is possibly true, but it simply is not the purpose of the Olympic Games to popularise or endorse individual sports. The only other distinct point he raises is that it would improve the Games’ profile and television revenues. Again, he may be right, but it is certainly not in the spirit of the Olympic Movement to select events based on their potential to generate money or publicity. Playing golf to a high standard requires very expensive facilities and equipment – thereby excluding a large portion of the world’s population. For this reason, golf is by far the least appropriate of those sports seeking inclusion in the 2016 Games.

  • Comment number 4.

    Include a sport where one team (USA) is bound to dominate? Terrible idea.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think golf, like any other global sport should be in the Olympics. But it should be in an 18 hole knockout format in much the same vain as the World Matchplay Championship. Over 72 holes, Tiger is dominant, but over 18, anyone can win.

  • Comment number 6. more sports where winning the Olympic Gold Medal is not the pinnacle of your season or career.

    If golf is allowed in, it should reserved for amateur golfers only. That way it showcases up and coming players.

  • Comment number 7.

    Golf is an established professional sport with an established sporting calendar and should not be allowed into the olympics. Additionally it is a sport which is not accessible to the vast majority of the world's population due to the facilities required and cost involved, i.e. it is a rich man's sport.

    There is a very strong argument for reducing the number of sports at the olympics instead of increasing them. I believe, like the post above, that winning the olympics should be the pinnacle of your career and sports such as football, tennis and road cycling should have no place unless they are only open to amateurs.

    Lets get back to the original spirit of the olympics and stop all these, already very rich, professional sports and sportsmen trying to cash in on it.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes, have it in, perhaps in PowerPlay format. This is somewhat similar to Twenty20 cricket and could be used for an individual knockout and team event. It is shorter than traditional formats, and would not detract from the traditional major format in any way whatsoever.

    If you look at the Eisenhower Trophy (World Amateur Championship), for example, teams from all over the world take place and the US (whilst historically the best side) does not dominate in a way that would nullify the competition. GB, for example, would be very strong whether playing a pro or amateur side.

  • Comment number 9.

    Personally I think it would be a good idea, though it would be on a par (no pun intended) with tennis as in not really being as important as the majors but the revenue it would add could only help the games as a whole. In response to friendsofthenite's reasons for not having it..."golf played to a high standard requires expensive equipment, therby excluding a large portion of the world's population" is it just me but a set of golf clubs can start for as little as 50 quid, be played on a municipal course for a tenner for 4 or 5 hours! A sailing boat for example probably costs a little more, or a Chris Hoy Bike...£15,000!!!!! Like many sports, golf is as expensive as your willing to spend, so absolutely no reason not to have it in the games!!

  • Comment number 10.

    The argument that 'tennis is in, and so should golf be' doesn't wash. I don't believe tennis should be an Olympic sport anyway.

    I would far, far rather see squash in.

  • Comment number 11.

    Absolutely not, unless it's amateur golf. Bringing in sports where the Olympics is not the ultimate prize in the sport has already devalued The Games. Do you really think the top tennis players think of it as any more than a diversion from making millions, or that the multi-millionaire basketball players would rather win the Olympics over an NBA title? Why would golfers think any differently, especially when some of them can't even be bothered to try and qualify for a major that's in a different country because they can earn a fortune finishing halfway down the field at home!

    The Olympics should be reserved for sports that value it as the absolute pinnacle of achievement, and not driven by TV money so that the IOC can aggrandise themselves even further. Thankfully I think Rogge has a better understanding of this than His Excellency Samaranch.

  • Comment number 12.

    Iain, all this blog does is reinforce the argument that Tennis shouldnt be in the Olympics.

    There should be one test, would winning Olympic gold be the pinnacle of your career? If not - then it shouldn't be in the olympics.

    That would also mean no more tennis and no more football. It would then leave room for squash, and I think Olympic godl would be the pinnacle of a squash players career.

  • Comment number 13.

    Golf shouldn't be added, if it did, then we would need to include Cricket. Need I make my point any clearer.

    Rugby, Squash and Karate have a fair argument. They are tough disciplines.

    I reckon any sport where you cant end up collapsing through exhaustion shouldnt be included. (images of Steve Redgrave on the rowing machine falling to the ground come to mind) That is what you call an athlete, that is dedication. If Golf was included, the golfers would get a caddy to carry their clubs for them, taking the 'athlete' element away from the game.

    I also argue shooting be removed.

    Just for the record, Im a keen golfer.

  • Comment number 14.


    Baseball is laughable...

    The fact only two or three countries take it seriously prooves my point.

  • Comment number 15.

    No it shouldn't!. It is the inclusion of sports like Golf that have further cheapened the Olympics.
    Any sport that does not consider the Olympics the pinnacle shouldn't be included!. For a golfer the Majors are always going to be the pinnacle of thier career not a gold medal.
    That's why tennis shouldn't be in the Olympics, the exception being football as it has a different set of rules for the Olympics encouraging mainly young players.

  • Comment number 16.

    If golf is an Olympic sport then snooker and darts deserve a place!

  • Comment number 17.

    Golf should not be in because the space for Olympic sport is limited. Giving golf a slot, which it does not need, limits the space for another more deserving sport.

    It should be the ultimate in that sport. Squash or indoor climbing would immediately rate Olympic gold as the be-all and end-all of their sport.

    Sevens rugby would be an event that requires no more than putting the posts up in the Olympic Stadium for a couple of days in the first week, and could be won by, say, Fiji or South Africa. I'd imagine a Fijian rugby player would view Olympic Gold as the pinnacle of their rugby career.

    If you want to put a sport in for television's sake - Europe and the US are already well accommodated for. The Chinese have table tennis, diving, and any other sport they fancy taking an interest to. So how about the audience figures for a billion cricket fans in India?

    Butterbeanbags - but Chris Hoy started out on a BMX bike, as did a lot of the GB cycling team, so cycling isn't hideously expensive to start. Nor even rowing, for that matter - £28 per month to be a member of the best club in my region, with unlimited use of their boats and gym. I think a lot of local golf clubs charge a bit more than that.

  • Comment number 18.

    Golf as an Olympic sport has been talked about for as long as i can remember and i think some serious thought should be given to its inclusion. Whilst it may not be the pinnacle of a professional golfers career this could pave the way for the world's best amateurs to give it a crack.

    Golf is a worldwide game and just looking at the World Amateur Ranking will show you that - the Top 15 amatuer golfers in the world are from 13 different countries.

    To say the sport isn't accessible to many countries has a lot of merit, but if you're going to argue the case in that manner then you need to consider how many other sports are played at the Olympics that might not be accesible to all - Equestrian for example, now that's not exactly cheap is it? Going on to money the post regarding it costing £28 a month to be a member of a top rowing club, well it only costs me just over £30 a month to be a member of one the top courses on the east coast of Scotland!

    Like any sport you can spend as much or as little as you like on golf, i started with a half set of clubs that cost about £30 and as i've got better and won money through competitions i've improved my equipment, that's the way a lot of people do it, yes there are those who buy the best because they can afford to, but isn't that the case with any sport?

  • Comment number 19.

    Golf my bum. If lucrative sport is allowed to be in Olympics, then it must have salary cap for entries.

    Professional tennis players, golfers do not understand/appreciate training for 4 years just for 1 day of competition.

    I am sick of these rich sportsmen can still smile after losing a match or their body languages simply shown 'cannot be bothered'. Look at Andy Murray.

    Why can they share the glory with other true Olympic sportsmen. Get lost!!!

    I do agree, squash should be in Olympics.

  • Comment number 20.

    Not convinced that the inclusion of golf would be good for the Olympics. As with tennis, football and basketball, the problem is that this is not the biggest title available and is of no historic significance
    (contrast with ice hockey, where the winter olympic gold is still fiercely ccompeted for by players who may be NHL team mates for the other 3 years 50 weeks owing to the historic significance of the event).

    Love the idea of an olympic rugby 7s tournament - 2 or 3 days in the main stadium before the athletics begins, so no necessity for additional infrastructure. Also, if badminton and table tennis are legitimate Olympic events then the current omission of squash is unsustainable.

    Karate should be in too.

    Baseball - similar problem to the basketball, only about 3 serious competitors (USA, Dominican Republic, Cuba) and most of their players being Major League pros for whom winning the World Series is the be-all and end-all.

    Roller skating - depends what is being proposed. Speed skating (which seems a sensible sport) or some sort of judged event (figure skating or X Games-style trick skating).

  • Comment number 21.

    Absolutely fantastic, i heard an interview with phil mickelson at the pga the other day and he clearly is passionate about this happening. Golf, morethan any of its competitors deserves a place at the games and the long term benefits are clear. More interest leads to increased participation, increased buying of equipment, more golf courses built, the game becomes more accessible.

    Hopefully if more in the media and the players get behind this vocally then the IOC will make the right and proper decision in 2009.

  • Comment number 22.


    Golf should stay well clear of the olympics.

    Golf is already hugley accessible. Where i live we have 20 golf courses within 30 miles of my house. Plus umpteen driving ranges, not to mention shops where a set of clubs will set you back the good side of £60 for a beginner

    Golf, keep your mits off the Olympics.

  • Comment number 23.

    Just read a comment about golf being a rich man's sport....

    Sailing, Tennis, Cycling, need i go on?

    Every single sport requires money to be spent, look at the price of Football boots these days!

    I have played golf since the age of 11, i live in a council house and have managed to buy equipment second hand, golf is no more a rich man's sport than any other in the world

    Every sport should be in the Olympic Games, including Darts, Snooker, Squash, Pool, Cricket, Rugby. Each sport requires the highest level of dedication to reach the top, people may argue the athletic merits of the sports mentioned, but The Olympic Games should feature every sport in my opinion

  • Comment number 24.

    No it shouldn't be an Olympic sport. The Olympics isn't about bringing more coverage and future commercial opportunities to sports like football, golf, cricket, tennis etc etc. All of these sports have more than enough coverage and the only reason there has been a push to include 20-20 cricket is to maximise commercial opportunities. The Olympics should be about the lesser known and covered sports, the ones you don't see splashed across Sky and Setanta and other pay channels. I'm sure the PGA Tour would view it as yet another massive dollar signs event with associated spin-offs but I firmly believe the Olympics has been tarnished by having more and more of the over-commercialised professional sports included.

    The pro/amateur argument may not wash any more but there are various levels of pay associated with professionalism. One somehow doubts that a professional windsurfer earns in a year what Mickelson earns in a month.

  • Comment number 25.

    Golf in the Olympics? Hah! Mabye you would like a bit of Darts and Snooker in there as well?

  • Comment number 26.

    Golf should not be in the Olympics, nor should tennis. The Olympics should be the pinnacle of an athletes career however in golf they have The Open whereas in tennis they have Wimbledon. Likewise rugby, however a sport like squash should be included.

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm a keen golfer but I just can't see golf as an Olympic sport. The same for tennis. For the players of both sports, the most important thing is to win majors, not an Olympic gold.

    But squash should definitely be in, I can't understand why it's not the case yet.

    And bring on darts too. Just to see the slim boys walking around the Olympic Village alongside Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. 180!

    Snooker would have been a cracker at Beijing as it is super popular over there.

  • Comment number 28.

    There are some good arguments, by Mr. Carter and the bloggers, both for and against golf's inclusion. But the most important point Iain got completely wrong. He says "when countries call, golfers don't tend to say no." This is simply not true. What about the last Seve trophy? And more saliently, golf did have a really good team competition called the Dunhill Cup and it was ditched in favour of a Pro-Am because the best players, especially the Americans could not be bothered to turn up.
    On further reflection, I do not think that sports should be included if a gold medal was not the most important achievement in that sport. That rules out tennis and rugby and it certainly rules out golf.

  • Comment number 29.

    Ridiculous idea.

    Olympics should be about amateurs and not millionaire golfers turning up.

    I am also against tennis being in the olympics.

    The whole ethos of the olympics is being ruined by allowing professionals to play a part in their sports at the olympics.

  • Comment number 30.

    Mr.Carter...with this article you have crashed and burned...however you do put your argument over v well. The only way golf should ever be allowed in is via an amateur competition. When watching the recent USPGA they had a few quick interviews with some of the field and the vast majority of players ( and reades here i may add ) stuck the noses up at the idea. Tennis is allready a dubious inclusion. Look at the mens single winners in the olympics and how many of them won in a world class field. Think you'll find not many. The olympics should be the pinicle of a sport.End of.

  • Comment number 31.

    If Golf was to be added to the Olympics. The golfer should be the top amateur of his/her country.

  • Comment number 32.

    I know this article is intended to attract debate, I actually published the flip side of this coin a couple of days ago:

    My main point was golf without professionals wouldn't be worth having - so it's either all in or all out.

  • Comment number 33.

    Golf is not a sport! We already have a crappy game called baseball (softball) in the olympics. That's enough! I hope nobody will seriously consider golf. Those golfers can't run, can't jump, can't lift weights, have no flexibility, we might as well then include chess and checkers in the olympics. I bet those chess players are even more fit than golfers. And then there are also darts, pool, poker, etc. Golf should be somewhere in that category.

  • Comment number 34.

    As good as The Olympics 2008 have been, they seem to be being somewhat diminished by so many 'rinky-dink' sports/events nowadays and the stink of commercialism. The time for 'The Olympics' as we know them has long since past and now it is high time for Olympic world championships with clusters of like sports all contested under the Olympic 'ideal'.

    Some sports are not enhanced in any way by being in the Olympics: soccer, tennis, baseball, basketball. Golf would fall into the same category. If the Olympics is the high point of any sporting four-year cycle, they should be in.
    If not, keep them out.

    Golf would not satisfy this litmus test.

    From what I've read, Tiger Woods has always been lukewarm on the subject: "It would be great to have an Olympic gold medal for amateurs maybe, but if you asked any player if they'd rather have an Olympic gold medal or green jacket or Claret Jug, more players would say the Majors.

    In other words, Woods is saying "thanks, but, no thanks"

  • Comment number 35.

    Iain, I have very mixed views on golf becoming an olympic sport, however my gut feeling is that it shouldn't be granted olympic status. You are right, there is no doubt Tiger and Mickelson would tee it up for the USA. Likewise Ernie and Retief would represent South Africa in a heartbeat. So, as you rightly said the standard of golf and the golfers present would be undeniably brilliant, although there are 2 issues. If say, tiger lost in a playoff for olympic gold he would PROBABLY not be that upset, compared to his reaction if the same thing happened at the Masters. Also imagine if the Olympics are held in South Africa in the next ten years or so. Ernie Els, Retief Goosen or even Trevor Immelman could perhaps be one of the faces of the games, just like Liu Xiang was here in China. Do you really think any one of them would shed a tear about having to withdraw if an injury occurred? PROBABLY not. I use the word probably because I am unsure just how much an olympic medal would mean to a golfer, as this is unchartered territory, to a large extent. However what I can say for sure is that when Kelly Holmes, Rebecca Adlington, Chris Hoy, Christine Ohorugu(the list could go on) won their medals it was the happiest day of their lives and the pinnacle of their sporting careers. Would this be the pinnacle of a major winning golfer's career?...PROBABLY not.

  • Comment number 36.

    Golf is not a sport. How can it be when a 53 year old (Greg Norman) was recently in serious contention for the greatest prize it offers?

  • Comment number 37.

    As an avid golfer and big fan of Tiger Woods, is it surely not a nonsense that the likes of Tiger could go to the Olympics and how on earth would they decide who has won - over 1 round, 2 rounds ? - so what's different against what happens on Tour right now? You would have the same players simply playing for a medal instead of money The whole point of the Olympics was for dedicated amateur sportsmen to do what they can without the support of money. Personally I think it mocks the Olmypics to have the likes of Nadal and Federer there............what real chance the up and coming youngster who would use the Olmpics as his/her springboard to move into professionalism..............Cassius Clay, Lennox Lewis are two names that come to mind. not everyone will agree but in certain fields the Olympics has lost the plot.

  • Comment number 38.

    All this talk about The Olympic Games simply being for amateurs is ridiculous - are some of you stuck in the 1970's? Most of the athletes present at these games will be paid, and some of them very handsomely for their hard work - that tends to mean they are professionally employed.

    However, I am not sure about golf's place at the Olympics. I was really looking forward to the tennis tournament and it felt pretty flat compared to the Slams.

    Interesting enough, (if any of you managed to capture Sky's insightful piece on this topic during their USPGA coverage) the players interviewed were about 60/40 against inclusion.

  • Comment number 39.

    Grumpyoldred..have a search on the internet and see if you can find who the highest earning SPORTSMAN is the world was last year..T Woods perhaps? What sport does he play I hear you cry?...GOLF. It clearly is a sport and it just shows how great the sport is, the fact that people of all ages can compete.

  • Comment number 40.

    Grumpyoldred..have a search on the internet and see if you can find who the highest earning SPORTSMAN in the world was last year..T Woods perhaps? What sport does he play I hear you cry?...GOLF. It clearly is a sport and it just shows how great the sport is, the fact that people of all ages can compete.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm not sure how major league golf would fit into the Olympics but I can see one very positive benefit for the game if it was included: drug testing.
    Random; out-of-season; while off sick or on holiday; wherever you are, whenever you are, get tested.
    It would establish once and for all that golf is a clean game - or it would catch anyone who has been using performance-enhancing drugs, of whatever sort. Beta-blockers to keep the excitement down or strength-builders to enable incredible training schedules, fantastic length off the tee but also their dark side - shortened life expectancy and stress injuries that won't go away.
    I'd like to think golf is clean but anything with that amount of money in it will furnish a temptation. A rigorous testing regime will make clear what we actually have.

  • Comment number 42.

    If golf is to be included it should be following the lead of boxing and be for amateur golfers only. Elite level amateur golf already is hugely focused on national team events; Walker Cup, home international and Eisenhower trophy as examples.

    At a professional level they do not want to play, just look at Boo Weekly’s recent comments regarding the Ryder Cup. Or look at the inaugural $5 million OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup in China last November, the USA, Ireland and Australia arguable the three current greatest golfing nations all fielded useless teams.

  • Comment number 43.

    dedimprest (response #2) is dedright.

  • Comment number 44.

    Golf is a 'streak' sport and should not be in the Olympics. Golf champions are measured by multiple success in the Majors. Let's keep it that way. Who wants an Olympic Champion called Chip Chunk, Fuzzy Feeler or Duffy Duffdorf?

  • Comment number 45.

    i love golf play golf and make my living at golf but no to olympic golf i ask you do you remember the tennis last week not many people will leave olympics to people that really try for 4 years to get there not people who go on a two week jaunt to be like other athletes
    p.s. i am of the same opinion regarding olympic football

  • Comment number 46.

    Complaining about America's domination is not just, their athletes have worked hard and their determination has prevailed, for instance the Jamaicans are dominating the sprinting, nobody is calling for the sprinting to be disbanded!

    Having said that I think seven a side rugby would be a much better addition seen as it has the high pace to attract large audiences and would really put rugby league on the map whilst encouraging other continents to play.

    I think golf would be much better off creating a new tournament much like the ryder cup but allow other continents to compete and although the standard of golf in Europe and America is much higher than anywhere else it would encourage the growth of a game. If we hosted in continents like australasia, for the first few decades it would vastly improve Golf's popularity. Since the four majors are held in Europe and America we cannot encourage play in more diverse areas.

  • Comment number 47.

    I too play golf and watch golf but would not welcome golf as an olympic sport. Tennis / Golf /Football get plenty of coverage year in year out and in no way will or would the Olympics be the highlight of those sports calenders.

  • Comment number 48.

    I recall a debate on 5-Live about the inclusion of sports in the Olympics not too long ago. The general concensus was that if the sport had its major forum outside The Olympics (eg. Football, and numerous others) it should not be included. In the case of, for example, swimming and athletics, their major forums are obviously the Olympics. We've reached a situation now where American sports like baseball have got themselves in there, and we also have softball, which seems plain ridiculous. If you were to include golf, you'd then have to include crazy golf next time round.... and we could go on....

  • Comment number 49.

    I appreciate friendofthenite's sentiment in hoping that Ian Carter did not get paid for this piece of inept journalism but reality is different.

    Bob Humphrys, a BBC sports journalist of the highest professional integrity, passed away this week and I suggest that Ian Carter researches his work to understand what the job is about, i.e. it's not about the story and the reaction it will create, it's about the informed detail for the reader.

    Even if Golf makes the Olympics, (and it shouldn't,) it'll be a non event as by the qualification rules only a small percentage of the top players could qualify thus devaluing Olympic gold.

  • Comment number 50.

    Golf doesn't need the Olympics and the Olympics doesn't need golf.

    I think that squash is the most worthy candidate - I've always found that it is highly watchable at the Commonwealth games and the level of athleticism in the sport combined with skill is incredible.

    The likelihood is that the roller-games will get in. These are immensely popular in north america. BMX has been successful here and x-games have done very well at the Winter games too.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think golf would be a great game to have at the olympics, though i dont think it would have to be the professionals that compete. The amature world of golf produces such a high standard of golfers both male and female who would be delighted to represent their country. This would (as some have been complaining about) become a pinnacle point in their amature career. I do not believe the usa would dominate either. Especially in female golf right now countries such as korea are begining to come through and are producing far more top golfers.

    Knockout 18 hole matchplay would be an exciting addition to the olympics. As all golfers know nothing is certain in a match.

    I would love to see it in the olypmics in 2016.

  • Comment number 52.

    Fine - no problem with golf being an Olympic sport....With one proviso - Amateur players only. Why should the Woods/Mickelsons of this world massage their own egos to the point of almost guaranteeing themselves a medal.
    Having said that, I don't doubt that there is every chance of it becoming an Olympic sport, for one simple reason, American money.....

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm sorry but I disagree completely with golfs inclusion (and with tennis as well).

    Every four years we get the chance to see amateur participants in sports as diverse as Modern Pentathlon and Taekwondo. These participants put their effort in to these sports despite the complete lack of media attention and deserve their time in the limelight. By adding the, already, popular sports such as golf and tennis we reduce the one chance most of these dedicated amateurs get to show off their sports.

    Unfortunately I think the combined muscle of the golfing administrators will probably lead to it's inclusion, presumably followed by F1, Rugby and, heaven forbid, American Football.

  • Comment number 54.

    Iain Carter should confine himself to commenting on events in the golf world, and avoid any more ridiculous suggestions such as the place of golf in the Olympics.

    Two and more wrongs do not make a right, and just as it is ludicrous for sports such as tennis,football(Ronaldinho,Messi et al),basketball and baseball to be included - all of which have their own major championships, neither golf nor the Olympic Games would benefit from such a move.

    I agree entirely with the blogger who commented that if the Olympic Games do not represent the pinnacle of achievement in any given sport, then that sport should be excluded.

    In addition, how many of this Ryder Cup team members from Europe and the USA would have chosen to play in the Olympics rather than the Ryder - or indeeed vice versa?

    Iain Carter has never been my favourite commentator, and comments like these only confirm my opinion>

  • Comment number 55.

    If golf was in the Olympics, would anyone watch it? If you enjoy watching golf but also like, for argument's sake, track and field, are you going to spend an afternoon watching one or two matches at the business end of the tournament, or watch ten golds being decided back at the stadium?

  • Comment number 56.

    This idea is a complete non starter.

    Golf already has 4 majors, a world cup, the ryder cup, the presidents cup and the fed-ex cup as well as the female equivalent. How many golf champions do we need. I don not agree with the inclusion of tennis or football for these reasons also. The olympics should be reserved for sports where olympic gold is the pinnacle of success - not so in golf, football or tennis.

    Although if it was included I would watch it.

  • Comment number 57.

    I have the solution, Golf itself may not be able to get in, but perhaps some of it's parts could be shaped into sports more fitting to the Olympics....

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm not convinced including tennis was a good idea, and for the same reason I have serious reservations about golf. The Olympics should be reserved for sports in which an Olympic gold medal represents the pinnacle of achievement. That's not true of tennis; neither would it be true of golf. Including sports that treat the Olympics as an inconvenient afterthought to be accommodated somewhere within a busy schedule is not good for the Olympics.

  • Comment number 59.

    There should be no place for Golf in any shape or form in the modern Olympics, neither should Tennis, Baseball, Beach Volleyball, Table Tennis, Badminton and Football be part of the games.The spirit of the Olympics has been tarnished by the greedy IOC and the amount of Profesional sportspeople taking part to better their bank balances.The amatuer sportspeople who invest their money and time must be sick to the back teeth of so called superstars taking their places in Olympic events. I am sure we have enough up and coming talent( as do other countries) in Tennis and the other sports above to compete instead of the likes of the two Murrays(who's efforts were poor to say the least) Messi and co, and various other sportsmen and women from various countries.

  • Comment number 60.

    I don't think golf as we know it should be a Olympic sport but how about
    1. Longest Drive, similar to Javelin throw format
    2. Target golf, similar to Archery format but different distances eg 25 50 100m which could be done in a stadium.


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