Golf and rugby teed up to make 2016 Games

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The Independent Online

A three-ball featuring Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and Michelle Wie would be sure to attract a few headlines, although all the golf authorities are praying for is that they attract at least 54 votes from the International Olympic Committee meeting in Copenhagen this lunchtime. A simple majority is all the sport requires to gain inclusion to the Olympics, starting from 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

While Rugby Sevens, the other candidate up for IOC approval, has been regarded as a shoo-in all week in the Danish capital, the suspicion has grown that the 106 members of the committee could rule against golf as a protest. Apparently there is resentment at ground level that, for the first time, they are not being presented with a number of sports to choose from and instead are just being asked to say "yay" or "nay" to the executive board's two recommendations.

However, a delegation led by Peter Dawson, the Royal and Ancient's chief executive, and Ty Votaw, the executive director of the International Golf Federation Olympic Golf Committee, were last night satisfied they would have enough votes to carry the day.

Of course, IOC members are notoriously fickle and could well change their minds before, during or after golf's 20-minute presentation this morning. But with Woods addressing the Olympians via a video message (the world No 1 is playing in the Presidents Cup in California) and with Harrington and Wie among the players in town to help state golf's case, it would be a major surprise, and an even bigger disappointment, if it was rejected.

Votaw and Dawson have been at pains to play down the theories that a gold medal would not be seen as the pinnacle of the sport or that it is elitist. Rugby Sevens, meanwhile, has not encountered any such doubts, particularly as the Sevens World Cup has been scrapped so the Olympics is not overshadowed. Furthermore, Jacques Rogge, the IOC's president, once played rugby union for Belgium.

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