Chicago fails to land 2016 Olympics
Friday, October 2, 2009
Tiger Woods gave Chicago golf courses – specifically Cog Hill No. 4 – a thumbs up as a venue for the 2016 Olympics, but apparently no one in Copenhagen, Denmark, was listening.
That’s where IOC members gathered today to select a host city for the Summer Games in seven years, and in the first round of voting eliminated Chicago from consideration. Next Friday, the IOC will consider adding golf as an Olympic sport in 2016.
As unpredictable as IOC voting may be, Chicago’s quick dismissal was unexpected, to say the least.
The city’s ouster left local golf leaders wondering what might have been.
“It would have been tremendous to be able to have golf reintroduced to an Olympic Games that’s being played in Chicago,” said Robert Markionni, executive director of the Chicago District Golf Association.
Indeed, interest in golf’s possible addition to the Olympics, as well as Chicago’s candidacy as a host city, spiked at the BMW Championship when Woods said this about Cog Hill, where he is a multiple winner: “I think you have to have it at a public venue because of the nature of what the Olympics are all about. And certainly this golf course stands alone among public courses in Chicago.”
Said Frank Jemsek, owner of Cog Hill: “We felt we would have had a really good chance of being the (Olympic golf venue), which would certainly be a feather in Cog Hill’s cap. But even without Chicago getting it, I do hope they put golf in the Olympics.”
It’s a sentiment shared by Markionni, who said the golf community managed to keep expectations in check. That minimized the disappointment of today’s IOC vote and left Markionni with “the big picture” firmly in his mind.
“We were waiting to see what would happen with the vote,” he said. “Now that we’re out of the mix, there will be less impact in the U.S. But I still believe that golf in the Olympics is good for the game throughout the world.”