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Tiger eyes gold after golf gets Olympic boost

CHASKA, Minn. - Tiger Woods has plenty of gold already. But he now might be in line for a gold medal.

The International Olympic Committee executive board, meeting in Berlin Thursday, recommended golf and rugby be added to the sports for the 2016 Games. The full IOC will vote on the final decision Oct. 9 at Copenhagen.

"I would love to play for the rugby team,'' joked Tiger, after shooting a 5-under par 67 for the first-day lead of the 91st PGA Championship. "No, I think it's great for golf. We're long overdue to have it in the Olympics. Our sport is a global sport.''

Woods would be 40 at the time of the 2016 Games but said unless he retires, he likely would play. His support was credited with giving golf the boost it needed to make the cut over sports such as baseball and softball.

"I can't overstate the importance of that,'' said Ty Votaw, a PGA Tour official and executive director of the International Golf Federation's Olympic bid committee.

"Tiger being involved . . . is very important,'' said Votaw, "as is the support of the top players.''

Padraig Harrington, the defending PGA champion who played with Tiger and finished a shot behind him Thursday, said if golf is included it should be stroke play, 72 holes, like a major.

"I think,'' contended Harrington, the Irishman who also has won two British Opens, "in 100 years time the Olympics could be the fifth major . . . It's only once every four years, So in time it could become the premier event in golf.

"I believe the best players will turn up. It's not too many players, even a dominant one, who are going to get to play more than once or twice because of the time frame. So 72-hole stroke would bring out a true winner.''

If golf is accepted, adjustments would have to be made to the global schedule, possibly revising dates for either the Ryder Cup or PGA Championship.

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