Date: October 09, 2009

Golf wins Olympic nod

Golf will return to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after the International Olympic Committee membership voted to formally include the sport in the 2016 Olympic Games schedule during their meeting in Copenhagen. It marks the first time golf has been elevated to Olympic level since it last appeared at the 1904 Games in St Louis. The event at those Games was won by Canadian George Lyon. Australian Olympic Committee President and IOC member John Coates said the decision made clear that there was enormous support for golf’s universal appeal. I am looking forward to seeing our top players in the men’s and women’s ranks striving to win sport s ultimate prize, an Olympic gold medal, in Rio in 2016, Coates said. Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said the decision allowed golf to introduce itself to a whole new audience. This is a fantastic day for golf, Pitt said. The Olympic stage will give golf an unparalleled level of attention and interest and allows us to highlight the benefits golf brings to individuals and the wider community. It also represents a real dream for our young golfers and even players who are picking up a club for the first time. Any one of them could be at the beginning of an exciting Olympic journey. PGA of Australia CEO Max Garske said: Already the most popular participation sport in Australia, the inclusion of golf in the Olympics will further elevate the standing of the game which has great appeal for men women and juniors as a game for life. Australia is renowned for its player development programs and we consistently produce world class champions. Given the already realised potential of our current young stars, the 2016 Australian Olympic team will feature home grown golfers who are just as strong if not stronger than those champions who have gone before them. ALPG CEO Warren Sevil said: “This news provides a welcome boost for our sport, globally, but particularly in a highly competitive sporting nation such as Australia. Olympic exposure showcases elite sportsmen and women on the world&aposs biggest stage and will have a far reaching impact on the profile of the sport, particularly with junior development and participation at grass roots level. Women&aposs development and participation, was a specific consideration of the IOC in determining which sports were included from 2016, and we are now ready to reap the benefits through attracting more juniors, girls in particular, to golf. The final presentation in Copenhagen to the IOC membership included 3-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, Norwegian World Number 3 Suzann Pettersen, American Michelle Wie and British Amateur Champion Matteo Manassero of Italy. Leading up to Friday s vote, golf emerged from a year-long process that included formal presentations by seven candidate sports, the submission of a Detailed Questionnaire and responses to questions raised by both the IOC Programme Commission and the IOC Executive Board. The IOC Executive Board announced its recommendation of golf and rugby sevens following a meeting in Berlin, Germany on August 13.