IOC Executive Board recommends golf for 2024 Olympic Games
Golf’s future in the Olympics is expected to extend into 2024, thanks to a recommendation by the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board. In a meeting held Friday at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Executive Board approved the inclusion of all 28 sports that were held at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. That includes golf, which made its return to the Olympics program after a 112-year absence. The recommendation is scheduled to be ratified by all IOC members at the 130th IOC Session held on Sept. 13 in Lima, Peru. That’s also when the host city for the 2024 Summer Games will be announced – either Paris or Los Angeles. The International Golf Federation released a statement Saturday: “The IGF is gratified to learn of the IOC Executive Board’s decision to include golf in its recommendation for the Olympic Games Programme in 2024. We look forward to learning the outcome of the final vote at the IOC Session in September. “We were always confident that golf would deliver exciting men's and women's competitions in Rio de Janeiro and even at that, it exceeded our expectations. Now, we are excited to build upon the success from last year as we prepare for the 2020 Games in Tokyo and, hopefully, beyond.” Golf had previously been approved for 2020 in Toyko, with the men’s and women’s competition held at Kasumigaseki Country Club. Golf’s return to the Olympics in Rio was considered a success, especially by the players involved. Ireland's Seamus Power, who was T-15 in Rio, was happy -- but not surprised -- to hear about the Executive Board's decision. “I thought it was a great success in Rio, and it’s just going to grow from there in Tokyo," Power said Saturday after his third round at the FedEx St: Jude Classic. "When tennis was brought into the Olympics, it was a little bit of a slow start as well, some of the top guys didn’t go. It’s going to be great to grow golf. The amount of public viewing for the Olympics is just astronomical, it’s going to grow the game and generate new interest in new countries. “As long as I was there playing in it, I wouldn’t care which city it was in. I’m sure both cities would do a great job.” Justin Rose (gold), Henrik Stenson (silver) and Matt Kuchar (bronze) were the medalists in the men’s competition in Rio, with Inbee Park (golf), Lydia Ko (silver) and Shanshan Feng (bronze) grabbing podium spots on the women’s side. In a non-traditional golf country, players were pleased to see a significant amount of fans at the new Olympic course designed by architect Gil Hanse and his team. “To look at the support that was out here, to look at the guys that came through, won medals – I think it speaks for itself,” Kuchar said after winning bronze. “This event has gone over, I think, fantastically well.” The fan support should be larger in Tokyo. According to a 2015 study by the R&A, there are 2,383 golf facilities in Japan, second most in the world next to the United States. Included among the estimated 10 million golfers in the country are Hideki Matsuyama, the fourth-ranked men’s player in the world, and Harukyo Nomura, ranked 18th among all women’s players. Korean golf fans, who made up a big contingent for the women’s event in Rio, should have an even larger presence in Japan, its next-door neighbor. Eight of the current top 14 women’s players in the world are from South Korea. If Los Angeles gets the 2024 Olympics bid, the host venue is expected to be Riviera Country Club, the annual site of the PGA TOUR’s Genesis Open. If Paris gets the bid, the host venue will be Le Golf National, the host course at next year’s Ryder Cup.
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