Golf has a tee time for 2016 in Brazil, and top-ranked Tiger Woods can hardly wait.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Golf has a tee time for 2016 in Brazil, and top-ranked Tiger Woods can hardly wait.
The sport returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 amid the spectacular backdrop of Rio de Janeiro’s sand and sea, giving Woods the chance to do something even the great Jack Nicklaus never did — win Olympic gold.
Olympic officials had no sooner voted golf in — along with rugby — than Woods and his fellow players cheered their chance to finally compete on sport’s biggest stage. They will compete for Olympic medals, but the greater promise is that the game catches on in countries where golfers are few and golf courses are even fewer.
“I think it’s great for golf,” Woods said from the Presidents Cup in San Francisco. “It’s a perfect fit for the Olympics, and I think we are all looking forward to golf getting into the Olympics.”
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The vote for golf was expected, after a campaign by the sport’s leaders to bring it back for the first time since George Lyon and the United States won gold medals at the Olympics in St. Louis. They promoted it as a way to bring a sport once reserved for the elite to the masses, even though it will add 120 men and women to a sports festival already considered bloated by some in the Olympic movement.
Nicklaus said Olympic gold would not trump the green jacket given the winner of the Masters or the Claret Jug awarded in the British Open, but would be seen as something hugely important in countries where the game doesn’t mean nearly as much at this time.
“For most of the world it will be a new game, with a new goal to achieve an Olympic gold medal,” Nicklaus said.
Golf was approved 63-27 with two abstentions, while rugby won near unanimous acclaim in an 81-8 vote with one abstention.
They are the first sports added since triathlon and taekwondo in 2000.
• At least a handful of people in the Olympic movement support the U.S. Olympic Committee leadership — members of the USOC board, who voted in support of embattled chairman Larry Probst and chief executive officer Stephanie Streeter. The board also committed to finding Streeter’s replacement by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, leaders of America’s Olympic sports organizations called for Streeter’s and Probst’s immediate resignations.
• Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen has withdrawn from the first Grand Prix figure-skating event of the season because of tendinitis in her right calf.
The 2006 runner-up at the Turin Games is making a comeback after not competing since the 2006 world championships. But she said she will not skate at the Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris after consultation with an orthopedic surgeon. Cohen, 24, said she is confident she will be ready for Skate America, which starts Nov. 12 in Lake Placid, N.Y.