Should Golf Be Included In The 2016 Olympic Games?
By Stephanie Wei under General

I certainly think so (for both men and women).

Most importantly, Tiger Woods thinks so. And if he does, it’s golf’s best bet that it will actually happen. He’s one of 18 top golfers in the world to back the International Golf Federation’s effort to have the sport included in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Tiger has even personally written and sent a 32-page prospectus outlining the bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). If he can’t get the IOC’s attention, then…well, it’ll be a much longer wait than 2016 until we see golf in the Olympics. Last golf saw competition in the Olympics was in 1904, and only the U.S. and Canada competed. I think it’s safe to say that the sport has come a long way since then.

Other players have also written to their respective IOC representatives in favor of reestablishing golf as an Olympic discipline, including Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, winner of two majors last year, Fiji’s Vijay Singh, Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and Spain’s Sergio Garcia. (OK, Serg, this wins you back some points after the Augusta debacle.)

On the ladies’ side, Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, 2003 World Golf Hall of Fame Inductee, is the leading global ambassador for the campaign and has sent the same documents to dozens of countries. Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa, the world’s best women’s golfer, Japan’s Ai Miyazato, Australia’s Karrie Webb, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, and Taipei’s Yani Tseng are also sending materials to their country’s representatives.

This issue is finally getting the attention it deserves. While I was watching the Olympics last summer, I wondered why golf wasn’t included. I did a little research and all I can remember were some unconvincing silly excuses arguments about why it wouldn’t work. I believe that It mostly had to do with the format, the scheduling and the number of countries that would participate.

Let’s think outside of the box for a moment. OK. Format and scheduling are easy issues to address and amend. And, guess what? Golf is an international sport. Take a look at this year’s Masters field: there were 55 international players compared to 41 American players. For that matter, the 2009 Champion, Angel Cabrera, is Argentinian. The sport has expanded its global reach, not only in the United States, but all over the world. By including golf in the Olympics, it will only increase golf’s popularity internationally, which will also generate better players and more competition.

I don’t want to discredit other sports/disciplines that partake in the Olympics. I empathize with those activities that don’t have a worldwide platform to compete, but I mean…handball and synchronized swimming. Really?! And yes, golf does have major championships and organizations that hold international tournaments, but so do basketball and soccer.

I’m glad…no, I’m ecstatic that Tiger is leading the pack as the ambassador for this cause. People will listen to what he has to say. He is one of the most respected and well known athletes in the WORLD!

Who wouldn’t want to watch Tiger fist-pumping while he proudly carries the American flag at the Opening Ceremony? Imagine if they even let him pipe a drive into the Olympic Torch. Awesome.

Let the games begin!