As the 29th Olympiad opened in Beijing, China, Callaway Golf, the world’s leading golf equipment manufacturer, announced it would be supporting the efforts of the International Golf Federation (IGF) and other leading organisations in urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to restore golf as an Olympic sport.
“Golf is now among the top five international sports,” said Callaway Golf European Marketing Director, Jeff Dodds. “It is played around the world, under the same set of rules, by players of all ages, both genders and diverse backgrounds. Golf’s longstanding traditions of honesty, fair play, and sportsmanship are in complete alignment with the core values of Olympic competition – and that’s why we at Callaway Golf believe it should be an Olympic Sport.”
The case for golf to be restored to the Olympics is gathering pace. The IGF, whose members include the national governing bodies of golf from more than 110 countries, has formed an Olympic Golf Committee – including representatives from the USGA, the R&A, the PGA Tour, the European PGA Tour, the LPGA, the PGA of America, and the Augusta National Golf Club – which has been officially recognised by the IOC.
“We are supporting the efforts of the IGF as we believe Olympic golf would be good for the Olympics and good for golf,” continued Dodds.
“Olympic sports see an increase in global participation, event sponsorship, event attendance, and event television coverage – benefitting everyone associated with the sport. Olympic sports attract increased funding for schools and facilities from both governments and private organisations, providing more opportunities for youth and others to enjoy the game.”
Jeff Dodds added: “Golf is truly an international sport, now – 20 countries are represented among the top 100 male players, based on Official World Golf Rankings, and 16 countries are represented among the top 100 female players based on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. This is a big change from 1904 when all 77 of the golfers participating in the Olympics were from North America.”
The IOC will vote in October 2009 on whether to add no more than two sports to the 20016 Games. Golf is one of seven sports being considered, along with baseball, karate, roller sports, rugby sevens, softball and squash. The host city for the 2016 Games will also be determined in October 2009. The four finalists are Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.