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St Andrews in line for 2012 Olympics

St Andrews wants to host Olympic golf, should the sport be included in the programme of events for the 2012 Games and London's bid to become the host city turns out to be successful.

In a letter to the British Olympic Association, Alan McGregor, the general manager of the St Andrews Links Trust, the organisation which manages the Old Course, has stated the case for taking any Olympic tournament to the cradle of the game. "Where better to hold it than at the home of golf in St Andrews?" he asks.

Simon Clegg, the executive chairman of the BOA, has welcomed the expression of interest shown by St Andrews while pointing out that any final decision on a venue would be taken by London's bid committee.

Peter Mason, the external relations manager for the Links Trust, said: "There was correspondence between Alan and Simon Clegg where an offer was made to host any Olympic golf tournament should the sport be included in the programme for 2012. Our feeling is that if you're going to have an Olympic golf event in Britain then St Andrews would make it special for the participants."

The details of St Andrews' desire to host the Olympic competition, on the grounds that it is the home of golf, emerged just a matter of days after the town's community council rejected a proposal to grant honorary citizenship to Jack Nicklaus, arguably the sport's greatest ever player. St Andrews will host this year's Open Championship in July, when Nicklaus will make his final appearance in the event. Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the Royal and Ancient, has explained that if golf is to be included in the 2012 programme then an existing sport must first be voted off by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC decides which events are included at any summer games. Dawson admits the game faces a "tough challenge" in order to be part of the Olympics.

The IOC would favour the participation of leading professionals such as Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam, while the R&A and the United States Golf Association would prefer to involve the top amateur players.


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