As all eyes are on the world’s best golfers this weekend during the Presidents Cup at Harding Park, the sport learned that it will soon be in the spotlight on the largest international stage. Golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, giving the sport’s top stars like Tiger Woods a chance at gold in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Summer Games.
“It's a perfect fit for the Olympics, and I think we are all looking forward to golf getting into the Olympics," says Woods, adding “We as golfers have never had it, so this will be a new experience for golfers who get to participate in the Olympics. Having talked to other athletes who have gotten a chance to experience the Olympics, they have absolutely loved it and had the greatest time.”
In addition to golf, rugby was added to the program for 2016. They are the first sports added since triathlon and taekwondo joined the program for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Some of golf’s top broadcasters weighed in from the course at Harding Park on the developments. “It’s been such a long time, it’s only happened once and it was 100 years ago,” says Dan Hicks, NBC Sports golf announcer, “I just think that the time is right in this day and age to grow it globally, it’s really a global game and if you’re going to take that next step and call yourself a global game, you’ve got to have the Olympics included.”
“Everybody is very excited that golf became an Olympic sport, and we are working hard on our games so that over the next six years we are able to make the team and represent our country in the Olympics, said golfer Phil Mickelson. “It's important for the growth of the game of golf and it's exciting what it will mean on a worldwide level for this great game,” he added.
This announcement gives Tiger and Lefty the chance at something the Golden Bear never had the chance to achieve, nonetheless, legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus’s role as an ambassador for the game helped bring golf to the Olympics. “All of us who have spent our lives playing and enjoying the game of golf fully understand why it deserved a spot on the Olympic program, and now the sport I have always called the greatest game of all can be shared with the rest of the world on the greatest stage in sports,” said Nicklaus.
Golf’s 2016 tee time will add an expected 120 men and women to the collection of athletes in Rio.