Golf was included in the Summer Olympic Games of 1900 and 1904. However, as was the case with many events at both Games, the golfing competitions were organized in a haphazard manner. This was due primarily to the fact that the Olympics took place as lesser attractions of the World's Fair-the first one in Paris and the second four years later in St. Louis.
Still, the golf played in Paris at the turn of the 20th century was particularly noteworthy since women participated, although some of them seem to not have been fully aware of the fact that they were playing in the Olympics. The U.S. earned all of the women's medals awarded in 1900, and dominated the podium in golf at both Games with 10 of the 13 medals won by Americans.
THE ROAD TO 2016
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in 2009 to add a pair of sports for 2016. The two chosen for the Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil were golf and rugby sevens. As a result, there will be 28 sports contested in the first Olympics to be held in South America, after only 26 were on the schedule at the recently concluded London Games.
Golf is increasingly popular worldwide and the Olympic version of the sport should generate plenty of advertising revenue and excellent television viewer ratings. In addition to traditional golfing powers like the U.S. and numerous European countries providing many of the game's best, the IOC can also bank on top-notch competitors from other nations like Australia, Japan, South Africa, and South Korea.
THE COMPETITION IN 2016
Venue:New golf course at Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca
Designer: Hanse Golf Course Design
Completion Date: Scheduled for mid-2014
Opening Date: Test events are tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2015
Olympic Tournament: August 5-21, 2016
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Tie-Breaker: Three-hole playoff as necessary to determine spots on the medal podium
Players: 60 golfers for both the men and women, top 15 in the world plus 45 additional golfers, final limit of two per country
Challenges: Eight days of competition to decide medalists is slow for Olympic sports and will take a toll on the course.
Post-Olympic Plans: The course will be designated a public one to promote the sport in Brazil.
Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.