Last week during the World Amateur Team Championships in Adelaide, Australia, PGA TOUR executive Ty Votaw, as executive director of the IGF Olympic Committee, provided a progress report to IGF delegates from more than 70 countries as well as the 18-member International Golf Federation Administrative Committee.
Votaw also sought assistance from the delegates, suggesting they interact with members of the International Olympic Committee from their respective countries, voice their support of the Olympic golf movement and reinforce the virtues of the game as a potential Olympic sport.
During the course of Votaw’s visit, member organizations pledged their support through future efforts as well as financial backing over the next 12 months to help defray costs of the bid. The IOC will determine in October 2009 whether to add no more than two of seven sports under consideration for the 2016 Games: golf, baseball, karate, roller sports, rugby sevens, softball and squash.
“The IGF effort to promote Olympic golf will benefit significantly by maximizing the exposure it receives,” said Peter Dawson, chief executive of The R&A and co-secretary of the IGF. “The World Amateur Team Championships presented an ideal forum to discuss the efforts and associated issues, and to seek backing from an international base of constituents. Ty provided vital information and was able to garner much valuable support.”
“Considering we have just 12 months to solidify our case for golf’s immediate future as an Olympic sport, we need to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself,” said David Fay, executive director of the United States Golf Association and co-secretary of the IGF. “This was definitely time well spent with a valuable audience that can help to make a difference in our Olympic bid.”
Golf is bidding for inclusion as an Olympic sport for the first time since 1904, when it was contested in St. Louis, USA. At that time, men’s individual and team titles were contested among 77 golfers representing just two nations – 74 from the United States and three from Canada. In 2008, approximately 20 countries are represented in the top 100 world rankings for both men and women.
The International Golf Federation, recognized as the representative body for golf by the International Olympic Committee, announced in July the creation of the Olympic Golf Committee to drive its effort for the sport’s inclusion in the 2016 Games. Organizations represented on the committee are The R&A, PGA European Tour, USGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, LPGA and Augusta National Golf Club.
The IGF was founded in 1958 as the World Amateur Golf Council to encourage the international development of the game. It took its current name in 2003 and today includes the national governing bodies of golf from more than 110 countries.
The host city for the 2016 Games also will be determined at the 121st IOC session, scheduled for October 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The four finalists are Chicago, USA; Madrid, Spain; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Tokyo, Japan.
International Golf Federation www.internationalgolffederation.org