Keegan Bradley is one of several PGA and LPGA Tour stars who would relish the opportunity to play golf for their countries in the 2016 Olympics.
“It would be unbelievable to be able to say that I was an Olympian…to be able to play for the U.S.A.,” Bradley, the reigning PGA champ, says in a Golf Channel campaign set to launch on Friday as the 2012 London Olympics tee off. “It would be amazing to compete to try to win a gold medal. It would be a great honor and I hope I get the chance to do it.”
Bradley’s sound bitewill be part of a four-year “Golf Returns to the Olympics” celebration of golf’s appearance as an Olympic game for the first time in 112 years. Golf Channel’s programming, which will start tomorrow and run through this year’s games, will include 15-, 30-, and 60-second spots starring top players talking about their own Olympic dreams.
“Golf Channel plans to follow the most compelling story lines as golf returns to the Olympics in 2016,” Golf Channel president Mike McCarley said in a statement. “We’ll tell the stories about which golfers will represent their countries and who will have to stay home. We’ll cover the construction of the Olympic golf course in Rio and the profound, positive effect that the Olympics will have on golf’s global growth.”
As part of the push to get viewers to watch the games on Golf Channel’s parent company, the vignettes will also air on NBC Sports Network, official broadcaster of the Olympic games. Indeed, the golfers’ words are only part of an overall drive to attract sports fans to NBC, as Golf Channel’s broadcaster’s Kelly Tilghman will also host MSNBC’s coverage of the action in London.
Golf was last an Olympic sport in 1904 when the games took place in St. Louis. The sport will make its comeback in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Here are some other golf stars hoping to bow their heads as they receive gold medals in 2016:
- Paula Creamer (U.S.), 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion — “I thought holding the U.S. Open trophy or Solheim Cup was exciting, but wearing a medal would pretty much put the cherry on top of the sundae, that’s for sure.
- Sandra Gal (Germany), 2011 European Solheim Cup Team member — “The biggest thing that would go through my mind is that golf was finally an Olympic sport and that I’m able to bring home a bit of that excitement. I’m already trying to support women’s and girls’ golf in Germany and being able to promote our sport in the Olympic Games would just mean so much to me.
- Trevor Immelman (South Africa), 2008 Masters champion — “It would be very exciting to have the opportunity to represent my country at the Olympics. Just to be there, the camaraderie with the other athletes…something that I would look forward to.
- Belen Mozo (Spain) — “Bringing a medal to my country would mean the world to me.”
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminerWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?