Date: August 15, 2016
Author: Robert Grant

Woodbridge backs Olympic golf

Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge believes golf will eventually be a successful Olympic sport but – like tennis – needs time to be accepted.

This year's Rio games have been marred by the withdrawal of many of the world's top players, including Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott.

However Woodbridge, who won gold at the Atlanta Games in 1996, points to tennis as an example of a sport whose highlights are four majors a year but which now rates an Olympic medal highly.

"I think it's interesting, a lot of people are still saying tennis shouldn't be there, but tennis has been there for 30 years now, so I think time is no longer an argument," Woodbridge said.

"Our sport does not see it like that any more – we see it as a key piece to your career trophy cabinet," Woodbridge told Fairfax.

"Every young player now plays to go to the Olympics. It's in our psyche and is a very strong part of why we play.

"I've had quite a bit of debate about this in the past little while. Every major champion in the last 30 years in tennis has an Olympic medal – it is one of the highlight events.

"(Roger) Federer, I believe, is motivated to stay out there to win the Olympics, because he hasn't done it. He's won the men's doubles, he's got a silver medal, but he's never won the gold.

"It is an integral part of tennis's trophy cabinet, and if you don't have it you've missed a link of your career."

Woodbridge said golf could be viewed differently by the next group of elite players, who may be in line for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo games.

His daughter, Zara, for example, is already headed for a strong career in golf has already discussed the potential of one day representing Australia at an Olympic Games, Woodbridge said.

Zara plays off a handicap of scratch and is gaining state representative honours.

"I'm a golf fan, and I have a daughter who is a state rep in junior and senior level right now, her and her friends would love to play in the Olympics, and they're the next generation.

"They see an opportunity of something they can achieve playing for their country so it will change, I'm pretty sure of that."