alt JACK NICKLAUS (pictured) and Annika Sorenstam are to be global ambassadors as golf steps up its campaign to regain its place on the Olympic programme after a 112-year absence.


The International Golf Federation (IGF), who are leading the bid, hope that the backing of two such well-known names will help persuade the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members to vote for the sport to be included in the Games for the first time since 1904.


Nicklaus is arguably the greatest golfer in history having won a record 18 Majors, including the British Open three times.


Sorenstam has won more tournaments than any other woman, including 10 Majors.


The Swede recently retired from the sport.


Golf has only ever appeared once in the Olympics, at St Louis when the winner of the individual title was Canada's George Lyon and the United States collected the team gold medal.


Peter Dawson, head of the Royal & Ancient and co-chair of the IGF, said: “Golf’s Olympic bid is of enormous importance to the game.


"Not only will it enhance the competitive landscape of our sport, but it will also do an enormous amount to assist the growth of the game, especially in countries where golf is relatively new, and where Olympic sports receive a lot more attention than non-Olympic sports.”


Previous attempts to get golf into the Games in Atlanta in 1996, Beijing earlier this year and London 2012 all failed.


It will be one of seven sports hoping to be included for 2016 when the IOC chooses at its Session in Copenhagen next October.


The other six are baseball, karate, roller sports, rugby sevens, softball and squash.


Dawson said: “An increasing number of present-day players are lending their support [to the bid].


"It’s quite a wave of support that we’re now experiencing.


"But to have two of the greatest figures in the game in Annika Sorenstam and Jack Nicklaus to join our bid as global ambassadors I’m quite sure is going to give our work a tremendous boost and a tremendous fillip.”