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Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

ut even with the ob­sta­cles, golf feels very good about the in­formed bet it made on it­self in con­vinc­ing the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) to bring the sport back to the Sum­mer Games at Rio and in 2020 in Tokyo. Ba­si­cally, the Olympics con­sti­tute­golf’sul­ti­mate“growthe game” play.The sport will be on the world’s big­gest ath­letic stage, part of a tele­cast that will be viewed by as many as four bil­lion peo­ple in more than 200 coun­tries. Over 13 straight days, Golf Chan­nel will pro­vide more than 300 hours of cov­er­age of the men and women’s tour­na­ments, in­clud­ing 130 hours of live cov­er­age, with the NBC golf team led by Johnny Miller, Nick Faldo, Judy Rankin and An­nika Soren­stam. No-cut medal play was cho­sen be­cause it would al­low as many coun­tries to be rep­re­sented as pos­si­ble, with as much po­ten­tial ex­po­sure as pos­si­ble.The goal isn’t to en­ter­tain the hard­core fan from ma­ture golf mar­kets as much as it is to lure new fans – es­pe­cially young peo­ple – from among the mil­lions around the world who have al­ways been out­side golf’s tent.

Na­tion­al­ism is a pow­er­ful force for growth.A re­cent study found that 85 coun­tries that in­vest gov­ern­ment money in sports do so only if the sport is in the Olympics.This means that af­ter Rio, many de­vel­op­ing na­tions will have a golf cul­ture for the rst time. It’s an­tic­i­pated that coun­tries ob­sessed by Olympic achieve­ment – China and Rus­sia be­ing the largest – will make huge in­vest­ments to de­velop high-level tal­ent. Jack Nicklaus, who helped the In­ter­na­tional Golf Fed­er­a­tion (IGF) present the case for golf’s in­clu­sion to the IOC, says he wouldn’t be sur­prised if China, where he has built 28 courses and has 11 more in de­vel­op­ment, “within the next 20 years had

ve of the top-10 play­ers in the world.”

While in In­dia re­cently, Tiger Woods said that if Anir­ban Lahiri, a main­stay among the top 60 in the world the

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