After years of sales pitches, lobbying and persuasion efforts, golf and rugby were short-listed by the International Olympic Committee’s executive board for inclusion in the 2016 Games, leaving baseball, softball and three other sports out of the running.
The full 106-member IOC Session must approve the two finalists when it convenes in Copenhagen in October. If golf overcomes rugby, Tiger Woods’ dream that to get an Olympic gold medal will come true.
Both golf and rugby will make a 20-minute presentation before the vote. Golf is proposing a 72-hole stroke-play competition for men and women, with 60 players in each field. Rugby, golf’s tough opponent, has proposed a four-day Sevens tournament — rather than the traditional 15-a-side competition_ for 12 men’s and women’s teams. In addition, golf and rugby are bringing out some of their top stars for the final presentation. To golf, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland and 19-year-old U.S. star Michelle Wie will arrive in Copenhagen on Wednesday, and Friday’s presentation will also include a videotaped message from Tiger Woods and other top pros competing in this week’s President’s Cup.
Run back over the past, golf was once played at the 1900 Paris Olympics and 1904 St. Louis Games. As a big sport, the Olympics is without doubt the biggest stage in sport in the world, golf is not an exception.
Golf sees the Olympics as a way to spread the game to developing countries and increase its popularity on continents like South America and Africa. However, some IOC members have been unhappy with the selection process for picking the new sports, with the executive board narrowing the list from seven to two at a meeting in Berlin in August. Besides this, great pressure from rugby and also some other sports makes golf still struggling.
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