DCSIMG

Dawson confident of 2016 Olympic berth

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson believes golf's bid to be included in the 2016 Olympics will be "warmly welcomed" by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Golf featured in the games in 1900 and 1904 but failed in its bid to be included in London in 2012, and the International Golf Federation (IGF) have now formed an Olympic committee, to be headed by top PGA Tour official Ty Votaw, to press for its inclusion in eight years' time.

And Dawson feels important lessons have been learned from the previous failed bid with the IGF representing the R&A, the USGA, LPGA, PGA Tour, European Tour, Augusta National and the PGA of America.

"I think golf was not really speaking with one voice at the time and we were nowhere near as advanced as we are now with our anti-doping policies and so on," Dawson said.

"We visited the IOC in Lausanne recently and it was made pretty clear to us at that meeting that a bid from golf would be warmly welcomed by the IOC, so I think we're in much better shape.

"There are two vacancies projected in the Olympics in 2016 but we have six sports up against us – rugby sevens, squash, karate, roller sports, softball and baseball.

"There is much to be done and stiff competition, but we do feel that we're putting together the right organisation to get the job done."

The IOC will make the decision in October 2009, the same time when they will decide whether Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo or Rio de Janeiro will host the Games.

Potential stumbling blocks include the need to move the date of the US PGA Championship to avoid a clash in dates, and the difference between golf's newly-introduced drug-testing programme and the requirements of the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

"The distinctions between our policies and full Wada compliance are not significant," added PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

"We have been in constant touch with Wada since the beginning of our effort and Wada has been very supportive of the construct of our programme."

Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo is among those who believe amateurs rather than professionals should compete if golf were to be in the Olympics, but Dawson added: "It's been made very clear to us on several occasions by the IOC that if golf is to be in the Olympics, then it has to be for the top players.

"Golf will not get into the Olympics if it's to be for amateurs."

 
 
 

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