Woods and Harrington provide an Olympic endorsement
CHASKA, Minn. -- The winners of the last three PGA Championships held back-to-back pressÂ conferences Tuesday at Hazeltine National. So what did the hungry hordes ofÂ reporters want to know about? Perhaps the most interesting responses cameÂ when each was asked about golf possibly being included in the 2016 Olympics.Â "If I'm not retired by then, yeah," said Tiger Woods, who would be 40 at theÂ time of the 2016 Summer Games, when asked if he would play if eligible. WhenÂ pressed again if he would play, Woods acknowledged, "Yep." The remarksÂ represented a shift for Woods who had previously been more noncommittal.Â "I'd love to be an Olympian," said defending champ Padraig Harrington.Â "Doesn't that sound good? Imagine us being Olympic athletes."
For that to happen, golf first has to get in the Games. The InternationalÂ Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board is slated to recommend a pair ofÂ sports to be added in 2016, with word expected to come Thursday. AlthoughÂ golf has not been part of the Olympics since 1904, it is considered amongÂ the favorites for inclusion.Â That would sit just fine with both Woods and Harrington, both of whomÂ expressed solid rationale for adding golf to the Games.Â "I think golf is truly a global sport and I think it should have been in theÂ Olympics a while ago," said Woods. If it does get in, I think it would beÂ great for golf and especially some of the smaller countries that are nowÂ emerging in golf."Â Harrington not only touted the benefits to the game, but spoke of theÂ natural fit between golf's sportsmanship and that of the Olympic games. "IÂ think we have all the credentials to be Olympians," he said. "It seems likeÂ it was always destined to be an Olympic sport. I'm sure there are a lot ofÂ athletes out there that would never put golf as a sport, but trying toÂ explain that to somebody that doesn't play golf, they will never understandÂ what goes into golf. [But] golfers will see it as a natural sport for theÂ Olympics."Â Seems like two of the game's premier players have their eyes on a pair ofÂ prizes this week: the Wanamaker Trophy and Olympic gold.Â
-- E. Michael Johnson