Exclusive: New golf body set for formal approval by British Olympic Association
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
April 18 - Golf is today set to be formally approved as the newest member of Britain's National Olympic Committee as the sport prepares to return to the Olympic programme after its 112-year absence.
The British Golf Association Limited (BGAL) was officially formed in February to oversee the preparations for Rio 2016, when the sport makes its first appearance in the Olympics since St Louis in 1904.
The new body, whose registered address is The Belfry in the West Midlands, consists of the English Golf Union, Scottish Golf Union, the Golf Union of Wales and the Professional Golfers Association (PGA), representing the top players.
It will be chaired by Scotland's Shona Malcolm (pictured below), the chair of the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association and chief executive of the Ladies Golf Union (LGU).
It is affiliated to the Lausanne-based International Golf Federation, which is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the representative body for golf.
Under the rules of the Olympic Charter,following its approval the BGAL will be invited by the BOA to attend meetings as observers until after the close of London 2012 when they shall become voting members.
Among its roles the BGAL will also be responsible for ensuring that the sport is fully-compliant with anti-doping regulations and establishing the Olympic qualifying standards for Rio 2016.
Qualifying for Britain's team for Rio 2016 is set to be the toughest of all the 28 sports that will make up the programme in the Brazilian city.
The world's top three ranked players are all eligible to compete at Rio, including the number one, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who is followed by England's Luke Donald (pictured above) and Lee Westwood.
McIlroy (pictured), the US Open champion, however, has so far refused to commit himself to representing Britain or Ireland at Rio 2016.
The BGAL does not include Ireland in its new body as golf there is administered by the Golfing Union of Ireland, which has responsibility for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
But, under the rules of the Olympic Charter, the BGAL has the rights to choose any player with a British passport.
The situation is far more complicated for rugby sevens, the other new sport voted onto the Olympic programme for Rio 2016.
Discussions are still continuing between the Rugby Football Union, Welsh Rugby Football Union and Scottish Rugby Union about how a British team should be administered.
Irish Rugby Football, which has responsibility for the whole island, has already made it clear that they will not support any of its players representing Britain at Rio 2016, even if they have a British passport.
August 2011: McIlroy's undecided about which country he would represent in Rio
August 2011: Westwood - I was wrong about golf in the Olympics and now I want to play at Rio 2016
June 2011: Mike Rowbottom - Who will claim the Boy Wonder McIlroy for Rio 2016?
October 2009: Golf and rugby added to Olympic programme for Rio 2016