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Olympic Golf moves a little closer

12.33am 18th February 2009 - Management Topics

The International Golf Federation (IGF) announce that a 76-page detailed questionnaire was submitted on Sunday to the International Olympic Committee Programme Commission, constituting the formal and technical bid to include golf in the 2016 Olympic Games.

The questionnaire sought specific information on various topics relevant to golf’s bid, including how golf would be presented if it were part of the Olympic Games and information on golf’s worldwide appeal and governance structure.

The submission of the questionnaire was the next step in the process set forth by the IOC Programme Commission and followed a presentation in November to the Commission in Lausanne, Switzerland by Peter Dawson, chief executive of The R&A and joint secretary of the IGF, and PGA Tour executive Ty Votaw, executive director of the IGF Olympic Golf Committee.

“We are pleased with the formal bid document, and now look forward to working with the Programme Commission on the preparation of the final report to the IOC Executive Board in advance of our presentation to the Board in June,” Votaw said. “We worked diligently to solicit input from the world’s leading players and golf organizations to address and finalize a number of key issues contained in the document, including the recommended format for competition.”

Recognized as the representative body for golf by the IOC, the IGF is proposing 72-hole individual stroke play for both men and women. Leading players expressed 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 is recommending 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 available players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.

A cover letter signed by each member of the IGF Olympic Golf Committee was included with the detailed questionnaire that emphasized certain key points made in the questionnaire, such as golf speaking with a single, unified voice in pursuing its place in the Olympics.

It noted the formation last year of the IGF Olympic Golf Committee, represented by the world’s seven leading golf organizations, to drive its effort for the sport’s inclusion in the 2016 Games.

It also pointed to the unprecedented commitment by these organizations to adjust their summer schedules to ensure that no major championship conflicts or competes with the Olympic golf competition, and that the sports best athletes would be available to participate in the Olympic Games.

The letter was signed by the CEOs of these organizations — The R&A, PGA European Tour, USGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, LPGA and the Masters Tournament.

Further underscoring this united front is the newly created IGF Professional Golf Advisory Committee, which is made of up 16 other leading professional golf tour and teaching organizations from around the world. Its purpose is to ensure the IGF Olympic Golf Committee’s objective and associated activities are consistent with the values of both golf and the Olympic Movement.

“Never before, in both mind and spirit, have all levels of golf around the world been so united towards a single goal,” the letter stated.

Golf is one of seven sports being considered for inclusion starting with the 2016 Games. The others are baseball, karate, roller sports, rugby sevens, softball and squash. The IOC’s final vote on whether to add no more than two sports will take place in October at the 121st IOC session, scheduled for October 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The host for the 2016 Games also will be determined at that time between Chicago, USA; Madrid, Spain; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Tokyo, Japan.

Dawson and Votaw previously noted the ease with which golf would fit into any of the four finalists due to existing golf facilities in those cities.

International Golf Federation www.internationalgolffederation.org

       

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