Top Golfers Fight for 2016 Summer Olympics Bid

14 Apr 2009

Until the world of golf welcomes John Daly back to the grind, I will refuse to describe the sport as anything but tiresomely boring to watch on national television. Don’t get me wrong, there are some unbelievable shots like Singh’s hole-in-one skip off the water . . . but there are also clips of a certain American hero teeing off of Kid Rock’s 24 ouncer. While golf enthusiasts will ultimately fight me to the end on this point, the world of golf frowns upon these actions because it retracts from the “class” of the sport. Which is why the fields of play are ultimately limited to middle to upper-class families that can afford green fees or an exclusive membership to the clubs.

I point these facts out because today Tiger Woods personally sent a 32 page brochure to the International Olympics Committee in an effort to include golf in the 2016 summer games. Golf has only been held at the Olympics on 2 occasions, in 1900 and 1904 when it was dominated by the United States and a single Brits-man. The game has grown exponentially since the early 20th century, with an estimated 61.1 million players worldwide in 2003 . . . with over 50 million of them coming from the United States and Asia alone. Seven million are based in Europe, and the rest are in countries that can afford the development and upkeep of a golf course. In terms of viewership, CBS averages 12 million viewers that tune in to watch the final round of the Masters . . . which could possibly edge out a rain delayed Daytona 500 (16 million viewers) in several years. 

If it’s about fandom, I don’t know a group of supporters who believes their sport deserves a shot at the Olympics more than golf. If it’s about helping support the Olympic creed then you could possibly fit the sport into its contexts:

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

The “to take part in” part is sort of a stretch considering the financial restraints involved in the sport . . . 3 countries dominate 90% of its players . . . and its shining event is stomped by a rain soaked race in American ratings . . . but to golfer’s everywhere, there’s still hope! That is until they realize that baseball and softball was rejected from the 2016 games for carrying too much of an “American” influence . . . despite arguably being more economically feasible for every person regardless of race, wealth, or orientation, the sports are too dominated by the Eastern world to be considered for the games.

Tiger might be an important sports icon, but if the IOC accepts golf’s bid as an Olympic sport while accepting their ruling to dismantle baseball and softball, Jenny Finch herself should start cracking some skulls.