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The Loop

Not everyone thinks Olympic golf is a good idea

August 14, 2009

Paul Kelso, chief sports reporter for the Telegraph, makes the case that IOC president Jacques Rogge's defense for including golf is wrong on both fronts: The Olympics will never come to rival the majors and the best players in the world won't be there.

To the first point, Kelso writes, "it is unarguable that golf fails the primary Olympic test, which is that winning gold should be the greatest day of an athlete's career."

Kelso spends most of his critique knocking down the notion that the best players in the world will be there, using the International Golf Federation's own calculus for assembling the field and applying it to how the men's field would shake out if Olympic golf were debuting now. This is assuming that Tiger Woods and other top players would agree to participate.

His findings: The field would include only 26 of the world's top 50-ranked players and only 35 of the top 100. It would include nine players ranked outside the top 300. It would include Angel Que of the Phillipines, ranked 433rd. "More power to him, but I suspect Angelo is not going to prompt the stampede of US networks, chequebooks aloft, that the IOC anticipated when it opened the door to golf," Kelso writes.

The counter argument would be that Olympic golf would help boost the game in outposts that haven't fully embraced it yet, hence Que's appearance would provide just the sort of benefit for which the game is looking.

That said, it's an interesting examination of one side of a debate that is certain to continue.

-- John Strege