In a decisive win for v-neck sweaters, bright Polos and check trousers, the Olympic games will sponsor golf for the first time in 112 years. The International Olympic Committee approved the sport by 63 votes to 27 with a delighted committee president cheering, "Time will show your decision was very wise." But many, including professional golfers, strongly disagree, arguing among other things that the Olympics will never outshine the U.S. Masters or British Open. Here are the best arguments for and against, with a handful of world-renowned golf pros weighing in.
Golf Belongs in the Olympics
- Golfers Will Bring Honor to Their Countries, says Tiger Woods: "There are millions of young golfers worldwide who would be proud to represent their country," said Woods, who starred in a web video promoting the sport's Olympic bid. "It would be an honor for anyone who plays this game to become an Olympian." Golf legend Phil Mickelson agrees: "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."
- It Will Expand the Sport, beams Ron Green: "The game is better for it. Not because Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or Camilo Villegas might win a gold medal in Rio in 2016 but because the game got bigger through its inclusion in the Olympics."
- It Has Global Allure, writes Gerard Gallagher at the Sports Network: "Golf's worldwide appeal is why the sport makes such an attractive addition to the Olympics...Every inhabited continent would have a representative," he argues. "One of the reasons baseball and softball were dropped following the Beijing Games last summer was that those sports only appealed to a narrow base of competing countries."
Golf Has No Place in the Olympics
- They Simply Don't Go Together, says Irish golf pro Darren Clarke: “I've always been against it because I grew up watching the Olympics and to me they are an amateur event." He said the Olympics are straying from their original vision. "I know things have changed with tennis in there and basketball and all that. I can see why they are doing it to grow the sport around the world, but personally I don't think it should be in it."A commenter at Sky News adds, “Might as well bring in Formula 1 racing, Poker and fox hunting as Olympic events.”
Hurts the Olympics' Prestige, writes a contributor at Orange Sports: "The Olympics should be the pinnacle of a sport. The ultimate goal in track and field is to win an Olympic gold medal. Athletes train for four years to achieve that feat. Does Rory McIlroy lie awake at night dreaming of winning a medal or a major? In fact, if the Olympics started tomorrow, McIlroy wouldn't even be on the plane."
- Americans Will Steal the Stage, notes the Telegraph: "The top 15 qualify regardless of how many come from the same country and the remaining 45 will comprise the highest-ranked players from nations who do not already have two players. Based on this week's rankings that would result in seven American men taking part - led, of course, by Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - but no other country would have more than two and only 37 of the world's top 100 and 45 of the top 200 would be there."
- It's All About the Money, writes the BBC's Iain Carter: "Make no mistake, this is ultimately a business decision by the IOC who, despite 27 votes against inclusion, are looking for a lucrative slice of golf's commercial and television portfolio, as well as its ever expanding appeal in the Far East."