How Augusta National Almost hosted Olympic Golf in 1996!
Here is a very interesting story of how August National almost hosted Golf for the 1996 Olympic Games. But even the might of Payne Stewart and Billy Payne could not overcome one woman’s objection. Find out what that was. Thanks to Sam Weinman of Golf Digest for this breaking story!
If you’ve been at all following golf’s inclusion in the Rio Olympics, you likely know that the sport has returned after a 112-year absence. What you might not know, however, is how golf almost returned two decades ago. Or that the potential course was not some hastily constructed new layout, but the most celebrated venue in golf.
A brief refresher: After succeeding in bringing the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta, Billy Payne, then the head of the Atlanta Games organizing committee, turned his attention to making golf an Olympic sport. Better yet, he got then Augusta National chairman Jackson Stephens (at this point, Payne, now Augusta National’s chairman, was not even a club member) to agree that Augusta National should be the host venue. Payne’s promise of delivering both the best players in the world and the storied venue was enough to persuade International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch to get on board with the idea as well.
In October 1992, Payne and Stephens held an outdoor announcement at Augusta National, where, according to a follow-up story in Golf Digest, “guests were given trinkets adorned with the familiar Augusta National logo, but featuring the five Olympic rings inside the Augusta flag.”
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