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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Olympics in the future for golf?

The debate on golf in the Olympics is taking a more serious turn it seems now that China is showing some growth in facilities and people who enjoy golf. Golf in the Olympics seems like a natural. It is now a game that is truly enjoyed world wide in so many countries and seems to be growing at a rapid pace outside the US. There are some questions.

The biggest questions is when? 4, 8, 12 years from this summer's games?

What would the format be? Stroke play, match play, teams?

How does a country select its teams? World golf rankings, competitions as qualifiers?

Would they have to be amateurs or allow professionals to compete? Now there's an easy answer!

What about the ball? Will there be an Olympic ball with specific requirements that allows each manufacturer to produce it for their sponsored player? Logos on the ball? This one could be tricky as there are patents and legal issues to resolve. Maybe in 8 years the legal battles would be resolved. What about other equipment?

What will the governing rules be for the games? USGA or a special set of rules for the Olympics? They change a lot of rules for basketball. Will they need to do so for the Olympics?

Will Tiger Woods be there?

What country will Ernie Els play for?

Will the rules and venues be the same for women?

Will the top players in the world show up? Some players don't like to travel the world, others love it as a way of life. Kenny Perry comes to mind as does Ben Hogan. Perry sits out the British Open. Ben Hogan was finally convinced by his friends and legends of the game to play the Open Championship in 1953 before it was revived as a substantially well known and respected event in the US. Gary Player used to spend most of his sleeping time during any given day on a plane travelling the world to play and win his beloved game. Phil Mickelson is now becoming a globe trotter for the game. The fellows that play on the PGA Tour have not been heard yell a resounding yes to the Olympics even though the Commissioner has endorsed golf in the Olympics.

What will the role of the PGA, PGA Tour, USGA, LPGA, PGA sections, NCAA, etc. be in the selection and rules process?

Will there be 'official' Olympic training site(s)? Will they be selected based on the types of grass used, the types of greens, their championship venue characteristics? Bent or Bermuda?

Where will the competitions be held? A good guess would be a Jack Nicklaus design golf course and if not his, the Pete Dye will have his mark on it.

Who will be the coache(s)? What will the coaches teaching philosophy and technique? Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, Stack and Tilt, McLean's 8 Step Swing, Faults and Fixes?

And last but not least, will I get to go and see this wonderful event!?

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