Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Maybe you're gripped by Olympic fever. Maybe Michael Phelps really is the Tiger Woods of swimming. (I don't think so). Maybe four-man kayak racing is the best sport in the world.
I've seen enough of the Olympics, though, to know that it doesn't need golf. Olympics officials have already ruined basketball, baseball and tennis as Olympic events by allowing professionals to compete. There is no compelling reason to add golf. For one thing, golf is already a global game with plenty of tours and tournaments worldwide. Second, the Olympics don't fit in the PGA Tour's schedule very well in August, which currently has the World Golf Championship event in Akron, the PGA Championship and the start of the FedEx Cup.
Men's golf already has four major championships. So does women's golf. The only reason Olympic golf is being considered again (after that failed try at the '96 Atlanta games, when it was shot down due to Augusta National's membership practices) is Tiger Woods. He's the most famous man on the planet, the most admired sportsman and, in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee, he would be money in the bank. This Olympic golf movement isn't about advancing the game or bringing it to the world. Golf already is global.
No, this Olympic movement is all about trying to cash in on Tiger's legend and charisma. Olympic golf with Tiger teeing it up would probably be a ratings (and money) bonanza. In my opinion, it's just another cash grab.
I'm not sure Tiger would even consent to play. He doesn't appreciate others cashing in on his likeness,  and he's not looking for more tournaments he's obliged to play in. The Olympics doesn't need golf. Golf doesn't need the Olympics. I don't know why we're even still talking about it.

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