By the time golf makes its triumphant Olympic return at the 2016 Rio Games it will have been on hiatus for 112 years. But with the sport’s recent exponential growth worldwide, now seems a perfect time to add it back on to the schedule.
In related news, Turkey decided to point out how great an Olympic host it would be with two major golf events in the weeks following the Ryder Cup. First, the World Golf Amateur Team Championship, which brought in 72 teams from around the world. Next the World Golf Finals, with appearances by one-name-is-enough athletes Tiger and Rory.
Now the country’s golf organization has announced that it will host the first ever Turkish Golf Open next November, which will bring in the sport’s top names and award $7 million in prize money.
This seems far from coincidental considering Instanbul’s Olympic bid, especially as golf has grown to become the eighth most popular world sport with an estimated 450 million fans. Peter Dawson, president of the International Golf Federation, told the AP that an “emphasis on the Olympics” is very evident.
“The interest is there,” Dawson said following the IGF biennial meeting. “It’s amazing that in these countries they think of Olympic sports, instead of golf as its own sport. It’s certainly starting to serve to grow the game.”
Yes, this year’s World Golf Amateur Team Championship was the first time the event has hosted a full 72-team field, and even had a waiting list that included Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, Namibia and Lebanon… but is the worldwide demand because of the Olympics or is golf in the Olympics because of the worldwide demand?
Those in Turkey don’t seem to care what the order is, but they’re pushing hard and making sure everyone takes notice: Turkey is a golf destination now, and maybe an Olympics destination sooner rather than later.
Basketball reporter Craig Sager will miss the Rio Games as he returns to a cancer center to continue his battle against acute myeloid leukemia, NBC announced in a statement Thursday.
Sager was set to cover his fifth straight Olympics for NBC, but instead needs to undergo a third bone marrow transplant at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He resumed receiving chemotherapy on Wednesday, according to the Houston Chronicle, with the goal being to force the disease into remission so the transplant can be performed next month.
“We’ve known since February we would have to have the third transplant,” Sager told the Chronicle. “We tried to delay it until after the Olympics, but (the disease) is very aggressive, and there is a sense of urgency to do it now.”
Sager was diagnosed in 2014, went into remission after a bone marrow transplant, was told the cancer came back in March 2015, underwent a second transplant last year, and then found out in February he was no longer in remission.
“My body isn’t getting stronger, so they want to do it while I’m strong enough,” Sager said. “Third transplants are kind of rare, so hopefully we will get it done and I’ll be ready in time for (NBA) opening night.”
MORE: Marv Albert to call Olympic basketball for first time since 1996
NBC Olympics, Facebook and Instagram will team up to provide video highlights and interviews on social media daily during the Rio Olympics.
An on-site “Social Command Center” in Rio will capture Facebook Live content, including interviews with athletes and NBC Olympics commentators.
A daily two-minute recap video will be produced for Facebook, while Instagram will have a daily slow-motion video around an inspiring moment.
Instagram will also feature NBC Olympics commentators and athletes on its own account, @instagram, along with highlights of NBC videos through its Search & Explore video channels.
More on the NBC Olympics, Facebook and Instagram partnerships is here.
MORE: Complete U.S. Olympic team roster