As golf makes pitch for Olympic inclusion, does it belong in Summer Games?
Golf in the Olympics might happen. But does inclusion in the Olympic program make sense to help grow the game globally, or would it become one more event in an already busy schedule? Our experts give their takes in this week's edition of Fact or Fiction.
Golf is being considered for an Olympic sport for the 2016 Summer Games. But should a discipline that already has four major championships plus the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup in alternate years be on the Olympic calendar?Not only would the logistics of scheduling such an event boggle the mind, but what format would an Olympic golf tournament take? Match play? Medal play? Two-man teams? Plus, how many players from each country would be invited? And would the biggest stars even show up? Then again, wouldn't golfers -- like many other athletes -- like to represent their countries on the biggest sporting stage the world has to offer? These are just a few of the questions our experts ponder as they share their opinions in this week's edition of Fact or Fiction.
Golf should be added to the Olympic program.
I'm old school, and I much preferred the Olympics when professional athletes were not permitted to play.I have no interest in watching NBA or NHL players compete for a gold medal. Nor did I particularly care when Steffi Graf won the gold to go along with her Grand Slam in tennis. And that's really the point. Basketball has the NBA Finals, hockey has the Stanley Cup finals, and tennis and golf have four major championships. They all are far more important to fans of those sports than the Olympics ever will be. For many Olympic sports, the Games are the ultimate competition, a special world championship held every four years. For world-class golfers, the Olympics certainly would not be among the top five tournaments they play each year (four majors and the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup) and probably would rank much lower than that. Besides, if the Olympics are held in July or August, golfers would have to schedule their appearances around the British Open or PGA Championship. And just how many players would compete in the Olympics? Two per country? I'm just not all that excited about seeing Dismas Indiza and Jacob Okello representing Kenya. How many top talents would compete? Face it, you're getting Tiger or Phil Mickelson to play in 2016. Instead of having an Olympic golf tournament that would be nothing more than a gold-medal version of the WGC-World Cup, let another sport into the event. Softball, which loses its spot after this year, needs an Olympic boost and has players who truly care about competing for their countries. It deserves another Olympic spot before golf gets one.
Besides, the PGA Tour already has events the stars skip. It would be easy to schedule two of those tournaments during the Olympic Games.One last point: Having golf in the Olympics also would expand the fan base of the game by putting the sport in front of those spectators who love sports but might not necessarily watch golf. And once you get new people in the tent, a certain amount are bound to come back. It's a no-brainer: Golf in the Olympics would be great for the game.
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