After stars’ worry, Olympic golf to stay

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Golf was recommended by the IOC executive board to remain on the Olympic program through 2024, along with all sports from the Rio Games.

Golf’s place at the 2024 Olympics — either in Los Angeles or Paris — is set to be ratified by an IOC membership vote later this summer.

Golf was re-added to the Olympics in 2009, but only for 2016 and 2020. When golfers played in Rio, it marked the first Olympic tournaments in 112 years.

Olympic golf had its skeptics leading up to the Games as many men’s stars decided not to play for various reasons, including Jordan SpiethRory McIlroy and Jason Day.

“Because of how [Olympic golf is] being approached in golf circles … I’m not sure if we’re going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after [Tokyo 2020],” McIlroy said in May 2016.

Both Adam Scott and Gary Player said before Rio they believed Olympic golf should be for amateurs only.

“We’ve got to remember that a lot of people in golf across the world worked extremely hard to get golf back into the Olympics, and if the top players don’t play, we could get kicked out of the Olympics,” Player said in April 2016.

Then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said after the Rio Games that golf’s return to the Olympics was “a game-changer.” He was at the men’s final round with IOC president Thomas Bach in August and said Bach “was blown away.”

“Without me having to explain the situation to him, [Bach] explained to me why at the outset of our entry to the Olympics, we had some hesitation,” Finchem said. “He said, ‘We’ve seen it in a few other sports, but now they understand the power of being an Olympian, of being able to compete on this stage, of being able to interface with these wonderful athletes from all over the globe.’”

Bach said to “expect mammoth galleries” at Tokyo 2020.

Paris is favored to be awarded the 2024 Olympics. Its venue plan has golf at Le Golf National, which will host the 2018 Ryder Cup.

The Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid plan has golf at Riviera Country Club, which has hosted the PGA Tour stop in Los Angeles for more than 50 years. Riviera also held equestrian events at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, as noted by Olympic historian Bill Mallon.

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