From the Detroit News website:
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Tuesday he supports the addition of golf as an Olympic sport.
Last week, Masters chairman Billy Payne and golfer Phil Mickelson voiced their support for golf as an Olympic sport. In a blog posted on the PGA Tour’s Web site, Finchem echoed their sentiments and reasons, namely to increase the sport’s worldwide appeal and to generate funding for foreign youth golf programs through national Olympic committees.
“By taking a leadership role, the PGA Tour can ensure that this is pursued with the best interests of our membership, tournaments, sponsors and television partners in mind,” Finchem wrote in an e-mail.
The earliest golf could be added to the Olympics would be for the 2016 Games, but the decision by the International Olympic Committee will come next year.
Finchem is correct that golf as an Olympic sport will promote the game, but I wonder just how enthusiastic he should be. The PGA Tour already has an inferiority complex because it doesn’t have a stake in any of the four majors. The Olympics will just add to that. It’s likely that governing Olympic golf will be the USGA and the R&A, which between them govern golf in the known world. The PGA Tour won’t have a say.
And while I’d love to see Olympic golf strictly for amateurs, it’ll be just another event for the pros. In fact, I can’t really see how it’ll be different from a World Golf Championship event, featuring players from all the different tours.
Tiger won’t win the first Olympic Gold medal in golf, though. Golf was an Olympic sport in the 1900 and 1904 games. The first gold medals were won by the United States’ George Sands and Margaret Ives Abbott.