Golf becomes an Olympic sport

October 9, 2009 7:15:27 PM PDT
Golf lovers will appreciate this -- golf will be an official Olympic sport in 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro games. The International Olympic Committee made that announcement early Friday morning and of course it was big news at the Presidents Cup tournament at Harding Park in San Francisco.

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Just a week ago Rio de Janeiro became the first city in South America to host the Olympics in 2016.

Today the world of golf joined in that celebration as the International Olympic Committee allowed the sport to re-enter the games.

PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka was up at 4 a.m. waiting for the announcement. He says it is "Arguably the greatest single decision that will help grow the game globally in the next 20 years."

Today, more than 50 percent of the world's golf courses are in the U.S. Many of the top players believe it's time to share their love for the game with other countries.

"I think it's exciting. It's exciting for the game, it's exciting for the sport and it will be fun to watch," says golf pro Steve Stricker.

The last time the U.S. golf team played in the Olympics was back in 1904 at the St. Louis games. The U.S. won the team event and a Canadian by the name of George Lyon took the gold.

Since then the game has been a favorite of some presidents like Eisenhower and celebrities like Bob Hope. Great players like Tiger Woods have brought even more attention to the game. Still, it took more than 100 years to bring it back to the Olympics.

"I think perception, misconception about the sport being an elitist sport. For those very reasons and things are slow to move sometimes with the Olympic committee as we know," says Tim Rosaforte with Golf World Magazine.

"Hopefully we'll have this new 40 year old named Tiger Woods representing us that year," says Steranka.

There is a new generation of young players already dreaming of the gold.

"It would be very fun to participate in the Olympics. I get to go to a new country. I get to see lots of different people and meet different types of cultures," says 11-year-old Stephen Brown.

And there will be a lot of golfers practicing to get there.

Conner Brown, 9, says he practices, "Like five or six days a week."

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