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A hundred and sixteen years ago, the story of Golf Olympics was etched as a sport in the Summer of 1900….

There was no Opening or Closing Ceremony in the small hamlet of “Compiegne”-in Northern France on the banks of “OISE RIVER” to mark the first ever ‘Golf Olympics’. Just four nations were able to show case their talent of 22 players in total. Two nations comprising Greece &France from the European continent, Great Britain and the USA these countries participated in the first Golf Olympics staged from October 2nd to 4th 1900.

“Compiegne” hosted the first edition of Golf Olympics and in the current scenario lies on the North Western Periphery of Paris.

The first ever Golf Olympics was brief indeed- played as a 36 holes stoke play tournament for the 12 men and a nine-hole stroke play event for women. A century and sixteen years on- discussions about shortening the game are being debated across global golfing fraternities – THIS is making news indeed!

In 1900 land and sea travel were well regarded. The Wright brothers had not made aviation history with their maiden flight, the worthy winner of the first Gold medal at Golf Olympics was Charles Sands of the USA. Great Kudos to those who travelled across the Atlantic Ocean- by the only known mode of travel during those times in the BIG SHIPS- the arduous sea journeys that were homes for weeks- health hazards with little known cures were no deterrent for these brave heart players- after all “GOLF IS NOT FOR THE CHICKEN HEARTED- NO MATTER HOW BIG THE IMAGE”!

While the Silver & Bronze Medals were taken home to Great Britain by Walter Rutherford and David Robertson Silver &Bronze medallist respectively in an easier journey across the English Channel from France. The Ladies who had to showcase their talent in just nine holes would have endured several days of travel from the USA, as all the three medals in 1900 were taken by the American Ladies- with the Gold being won by Margaret Abbott.

Enough enthusiasm must have been mustered up in 1904, to add 55 more players to the modest 22 that played in 1900- A total of 77 players showed up for the two nation Olympics- fought between 3 Canadians and 74 Americans in the second edition of Golf Olympics! The match play event must have been the greatest bravado for Canadian George Lyon, who took the Gold at Glen Echo Country Club at St Louis located in the USA. The Tournament had an overwhelming majority of Americans who were unable to get the better of the Canadian golfer!

Come Olympics 2016, golfers from 40 nations across continents are blessed to be born when – Aviation marvels mankind. Several big names fly across continents in their private jets with their entourage at leisure, whilst others are to undertake enduring journeys from across the globe to reach their destination Rio De Janerio, to compete for the “spirit” of the game at Barra di Tijuana. Some of the top countries have ensured that their sportspersons wear uniforms which are Zika- the dreaded mosquito repellent-taking no chances but we know that the 2016 GOLD men’s medal winner will not be Rory, Spieth or Jason Day but another worthy winner playing for his nation- A player who will have his name etched in history as the 2016 Olympics Golf Gold Medallist.

Champika N Sayal
Secretary General
Women’s Golf Association of India