SBD/June 12, 2017/Olympics

Golf Staying On As Olympic Sport Through At Least '24; Could Maligned Format Change?

The IOC announced Friday that all 28 sports from the Rio Games "will remain on" in '24, meaning golf will "return beyond its initial two Games guarantee," according to Ryan Herrington of GOLF DIGEST. Helping in the decision-making process was the "successful return of the sport to the Games last August, with dramatic finishes on the men's and women's side." If Paris is awarded the '24 Games, Le Golf National, site of the '18 Ryder Cup, "would be the course where the men’s and women’s tournaments would be contested." If L.A. is host in '24 or '28, the "current plan is for Riviera Country Club, site of the PGA Tour's Genesis Open, to be the venue for the golf competition." There was also "some good news for those who hope the format of the golf competition in future Olympics might be more dynamic rather than just 72 holes of stroke play." At the '20 Tokyo Games, the IOC has "approved additional events, specifically three-on-three basketball and mixed gender relays in track and in swimming." This "suggests that the organization might be willing to accept alternative formats in golf as well" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 6/9).

GIVE ME MORE: In N.Y., Victor Mather noted the IOC added three-on-three basketball and six events that will "involve men and women competing on mixed teams." The committee "added mixed-gender relays in swimming, track and triathlon; mixed team events in archery and judo; and mixed doubles in table tennis." The new events come in "addition to five sports that were added" for '20 last year: karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and baseball/softball, which are "counted as a single sport by the IOC and will return after missing two Games." IOC President Thomas Bach said, "I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/10). Also in N.Y., Juliet Macur noted the events will "guarantee that the Games in Japan won’t be anything like your parents’ Olympics." Unless they are "into skateboarding and sport climbing and surfing" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/11).

SLOW YOUR ROLL: The L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke said he believes sports in the Olympics "should actually be sports." He said three-on-three "is not a sport." Plaschke: "I’m totally against it. This is a gimmick. ... Are they that desperate?” The N.Y. Daily News’ Frank Isola said, “I can’t get tug-of-war in the Olympics, but we’re going to have a gimmick like this in the Olympics?” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 6/9). In San Deigo, Mark Zeigler wrote maybe the IOC "should just get it over with and change its logo from five rings to three." Zeigler: "Where is the mixed three-legged race? How about a potato sack race? Or an Olympic soap-box derby? What about underwater hockey, which is popular enough to have different world governing bodies and regular world championships? Or extreme ironing, where you press shirts while skydiving or water skiing?" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/10).
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