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The Loop

Does Rio de Janeiro hurt golf's Olympic quest?

October 05, 2009

Golf's inclusion in the 2016 Olympics seemed to be a lock, but that was before the Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro last week. Rio has just two golf courses, neither of which apparently is of a quality or length to accommodate world-class golfers.

And, as David Biderman notes in the Wall Street Journal today, building a new golf course was not part of Rio's original bid to the International Olympic Committee.

Golf is not a high priority in Brazil; the top-ranked Brazilian golfer is Alexandre Rocha, at No. 550. Then again, Brazil does represent the kind of region to which Ty Votaw, vice president international affairs for the PGA Tour, often alludes in his spirited advocacy for including golf in the Olympics, expanding global interest in the sport, particularly in countries that have yet to fully embrace it.

Votaw is in Copenhagen this week to lobby the IOC on behalf of golf. A decision on whether golf will be part of the 2016 Games will be announced later this week.

-- John Strege