Finchem Backs Golf As An Olympic Sport

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.

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4 thoughts on “Finchem Backs Golf As An Olympic Sport”

  1. I really just don’t get excited by the Summer Olympics, maybe I am a freak.  The Winter Olympics occur during a time where we are all holed up, nighttime comes early, and it is cold outside.  But the Summer games, I would rather be outside myself, playing or working in the yard.  This summer, in particular, I have zero interest- my personal political views are that we should not even be in the games, and certainly our president should not be attending.

    The idea of another showcase for the pros also just doesn’t excite me.  If the games were this summer and Tiger and Phil didn’t win Gold and Silver, would that mean that America was second or third place in overal talent to another country, lets say that Vijay won gold somehow for Fiji?  It is like our Basketball team losing gold, it is ridiculous to think that we don’t have the most talented bball players if you take our pros.  All it means is that another country focused 110% on the games and the strategy of winning just those games.  The Ryder, Presidents, and Solheim cups are much more important and should be in golf, those should not be supplanted. 

    But what is Finchem going to say?  No?  In addition to the tour, or maybe even more of a primary focus of his than the tour should be growing overall interest in golf.  As Tiger gets older, a concern of the PGA has to be will the interest of younger people in the tour and the game over the past few years start to dissipate?  The generational problem of golf is that it is of interest to the more mature in our society, not of the young.  The Olympics might be a way to bring more youth into being interested in the game.  Of course the other answer to getting more people, especially girls, interested lies of course in the LPGA, which to me seems more exciting on average than Finchems’ tour.

  2. I was going for just that effect wink  Of course, the Ryder, Solheim, and Presidents cups all show that golf is global. 

    I actually do think that any Olympic golf should be a team event, and in that America would be unlikely to win gold.

  3. Martins comments do nothing but reinforce my thoughts that Americans can be arrogant.

    I love it – just love it when we (Aussies) beat the good old US of A in any sports at the olympics!

    How about thinking of golf as a global game?


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