Golf Makes Cut as IOC Executive Board Recommends
Two Sports for Inclusion in 2016 Olympic Games
IOC’s Final Vote on adding sports to take place this October in Copenhagen
Berlin, Germany (August 13, 2009) – Golf is one step closer to being reinstated as an Olympic sport following the International Olympic Committee Executive Board’s recommendation to add golf and rugby sevens to the 2016 Olympic Programme.
The IOC’s final vote on whether to add as many as two sports will take place on October 9 at the 121st IOC session in Copenhagen, Denmark. While the membership of the IOC is not obliged to follow the Executive Board’s recommendation, the Board’s decision is based on an extensive review process of seven candidate sports that has included formal presentations, the submission of a Detailed Questionnaire and responses to questions raised by both the IOC Programme Commission and the IOC Executive Board. The IOC Executive Board announced its decision today following a meeting in Berlin, Germany.
“We’re obviously thrilled that the IOC Executive Board has recommended that golf should be added to the 2016 Olympic Programme,” said Ty Votaw, Executive Director of the International Golf Federation Olympic Golf Committee, which has been coordinating the Olympic bid. “We believe we have presented a compelling case as to why golf should be added and we look forward to the IOC’s final vote in October.”
Golf was last part of the Olympic Games in 1904, when the United States and Canada were the only competing nations.
Throughout the process, the IGF has stressed the unprecedented unified support by international golf organisations – including a commitment by those that conduct major championships to adjust their summer schedules to ensure that their respective tournaments won’t conflict or compete with the Olympic golf competition – as well as the resounding support of golf’s top-ranked male and female players.
Player support has been highlighted in various ways, including short films that have been shown to the IOC Programme Commission and Executive Board, a customised brochure detailing the bid that includes player quotes, a letter campaign in which international players sent the brochure with a personalised letter to IOC members from their respective countries, the participation by Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam as Global Ambassadors on behalf of the IGF’s bid, and the appearance by Sorenstam and 2010 European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie at the final presentation to the IOC Executive Board in June in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“We made it clear from the outset of the bid process that we absolutely needed support from the world’s leading players to have the best chance of being selected for the 2016 Olympic Games, and we have demonstrated that support,” said Peter Dawson, chief executive of The R&A and joint secretary of the IGF. “We also stressed the united support from the leading golf organisations throughout the world, as well as the universal nature of golf, with 60 million people playing the sport in more than 120 countries.”
The IGF’s Olympic Golf Committee, which originally included The R&A; European Tour; USGA; PGA of America; PGA TOUR; LPGA and the Masters Tournament, has been expanded to 19 organisations. It now also includes The Asian Tour; Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour; Canadian Professional Golf Tour; Japan Golf Tour Organisation; The Ladies Professional Golfers Association of Japan; Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association; Korean Professional Golf Association; Ladies European Tour; Ladies Asian Golf Tour Ltd; PGA Tour of Australasia; The Sunshine Tour and The Tour de las Americas.
The IGF has 121 member federations from 116 countries with the most recent additions of the Guam National Golf Federation and Cambodian Golf Federation.
In terms of Olympic competition, the IGF has proposed a format of 72-hole individual stroke play for both men and women, reflecting leading players’ opinion that this is the fairest and best way to identify a champion, mirroring the format used in golf's major championships. In case of a tie for either first, second or third place, a three-hole playoff is recommended to determine the medal winner(s).
The IGF has recommended an Olympic field of 60 players for each of the men's and women's competition, utilizing the official world golf rankings as a method of determining eligibility. The top 15 world-ranked players would be eligible for the Olympics, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players would be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.
Under this proposal, and based on the current world rankings from both the men’s and women’s games, at least 30 countries would be represented in both the men’s and women’s competitions, from all continents.
Quotes from LPGA players
“The skill, endurance and physical aptitude that golf requires is often overlooked, which is why I’m thrilled that the International Olympic Committee has recognized the sport as a contender for the 2016 Olympic program. I am optimistic that the October decision will bring positive news thereby providing golf with an international spotlight and encouraging the recognition it deserves.”
“Everybody I have talked to is quite excited about the idea of golf being incorporated into the Olympics, and today is a good step towards that. It would just be a thrill to represent our country and to be a part of the Olympic experience, which I think is one of the highest pinnacles in sport. Golf is such an international game – we see it on the LPGA every week with star players from all over the world – so I think it would be a natural fit for the Olympics and would be great for the game. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for more good news in October.”
“I really hope that golf becomes one of the sports in the Olympics because it is such an international sport, and is very popular among many people around the world. This would be incredibly important to my country, as it is one of the candidates to host the Olympics in the near future. Japanese people love golf and no matter where it is going to be held, it will be followed greatly. Personally, I’ve had many chances to represent my country as a junior golfer, but doing so in the Olympics would definitely be one of the highlights of my career. It would be a huge deal for the LPGA because it is a major international tour with players from all over the world. Not only would the players represent their countries in the Olympics, but they would represent the LPGA and show its diversity.”
“It would be great if golf is approved, especially in markets where golf is small or non-existent. For me, it is a dream to represent Norway in the Olympics, and I am sure it will benefit the game of golf in general, as well as in Norway. Golf is about respect, partnership and sportsmanship – true Olympic values that will fit with what the LPGA and the game stand for.”
“The prospect of golf being an Olympic sport is very exciting. Australia is extremely passionate about Olympic sports and the games are held in the highest regard. It would be an honor to play for my country. For Australia and even other countries that are emerging in golf, the distinction as an Olympic sport will provide greater opportunity for government and even corporate funding. I think the distinction will represent long term growth and opportunity for golf worldwide.”
“In terms of the benefit to the LPGA, I think most people will be impressed by the depth of international talent that is represented on our tour. We are an international tour and the prospect of this announcement will only continue to showcase all that we have to offer at the highest level in sport.”
Topics: Press Release