It may be four more years until a round of golf is actually contested in the Olympic Games, but TaylorMade-adidas Golf, with the help of PGA Tour stars Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, got the sport's re-entrance into the Summer Games started Tuesday in London. The two athletes, along with TaylorMade-adidas Golf CEO Mark King, hit shots from a barge on the River Thames to a floating green that was placed beneath the Games' iconic rings that hung from the Tower Bridge.
Golf will be included at the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, returning for the first time since 1904. At least 30 countries are expected to be represented in both men and women competitions. While organizers haven't yet settled on the format for golf in 2016 -- maybe stroke play, maybe match play -- both players were excited for its inclusion.
"I think it's going to be very special if I can represent my country," said Johnson, who is from the U.S. "Being an Olympian is more about being an athlete and being part of something more than just you."
"It would be really cool to be part of the opening ceremony," Johnson continued. "Really cool."
It was announced back in March that the duo of American architect Gil Hanse and SCGA Hall of Famer Amy Alcott will design the 2016 Olympic golf course, winning the selection over Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Gary Player.
"It’s a new sport coming there," Alcott said to GolfWeek in March. "I was a kid that grew up sneaking under fences, pushing balls into soup cans, watching golf on television. If it can do that for the kids of Brazil, it will be amazing."
As a gesture of goodwill, adidas UK partnered with The Foundation of International Inspiration and pledged to donate £1,200 ($1,862) each time a player hit the floating green. Garcia and Johnson hit the green three times each, while TaylorMade-adidas Golf CEO King hit the green twice for a total of £9,600 ($14,901) donated to the organization.