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Written By: Radha Seth
New Delhi: Golf has always had an uneasy relationship at the Olympics. Moreover, its appearance in the games has been a major topic of debate throughout the golf industry. On one hand, some golf enthusiasts feel that golf in Olympics would help in promoting the game in countries where it is not mainstream, others commented that they would eye on a major tournament over winning gold in the Olympics.
Rolling back to the history of this game in the Olympics. Golf made a maiden entry into Paris Olympics in 1900. It was followed by its appearance at St Louis in 1904. At the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in Copenhagen in October 2009, IOC reinstated golf for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. This shows that golf has always had a low profile in regard to the Olympic Games. After a century golf returned to the Olympics roster in 2016 which was held in Rio. This could have been a turning point for the game of golf if the topmost players wouldn’t have backed out from the game. In 2016, most of the big names rolled back; citing a myriad of reasons. Those names included golfing stars, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson who pulled out citing concerns over the Zika virus spread.
The above scenarios did not please the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but considering the utmost importance of having golf under the limelight, it was set to be featured in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Although, this event had been postponed to 2021, due to an unforeseen pandemic hitting the world.
Golfing sensation Jack Nicklaus has also shared his views on the game of golf and its entry in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Jack personally doesn’t believe golf should be in the Olympics. “It’s never going to be a major,” he said. “We’ve already got four majors.”
Nicklaus expressed concern that golf’s future in the Olympics would be determined by its appearance this year, and it has the ability to spread the game to new regions of the world and to countries where there still is room for fertile growth.
“We have the opportunity to grow the game in so many parts of the world where the game isn’t played very much — China, India, Russia, Brazil — big populations that will support Olympic Games,” he said.
The ongoing debate of featuring golf in the Olympics still goes on. ICO still plans on having golf tournaments on track in regard to the Olympics in 2024 and 2028. This, year it will be held at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Tokyo. Thus, the outcome of this year’s Olympics will be awaited.