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• 1996 Olympic Gold Medallist (Tennis)
• Nine-time Wimbledon Doubles Champion
• Golf handicap: 2.5

SHOULD golf be in the Olympics? It’s an absolute yes from me. Every sport deserves the opportunity to be in the Games because it’s the ultimate honour to represent your country. There is no greater pressure than performing with the weight of the nation on your shoulders. Performing for yourself and your family is easy by comparison.

GOLF has copped some flack for being reintroduced to the Olympics. But tennis did, too. It’s worth noting that Edwin Flack – Australia’s first Olympian – finished third in the Men’s Doubles in Athens, which many people are unaware of. It was 1988 when tennis went back into the Games and many people were sceptical at first, but I have to continually remind them that every great champion that has played since that time has medalled in the Games. This is Roger Federer’s fourth Games. Why? Because it is the one thing missing from his resume. He has a doubles gold – but no singles.

I TOTALLY respect and understand the decisions of Jason Day and Adam Scott to not go to Rio. What I will say, though, is that they will have missed out on one of the greatest experiences of their careers. I don’t know if they realise that not all Australians know who they are through their golf performances. But when you win gold at the Olympics everyone is aware of your achievement. Without doubt (their attendance) would bring a far bigger coverage and recognition to the sport of golf. You only have to look at the TV ratings in Australia to recognise that.

I HAVE always said Wimbledon is the mecca of the world, so my achievements there I hold dear. However, I would give everything else back for the Olympic gold – by that I mean the Australian, US and French opens. Why? Winning and playing for Australia when you are a medal favourite is the most pressure you will ever play under.

IN GOLF, winning a Major is an individual goal but I bet that every player rates the importance of them in a different order. They certainly do in tennis depending on your background. Would Adam Scott rather have won The Masters or US PGA Championship? I reckon I know the answer. In time, I believe the next generation of golfers will slot the Olympics as their No.2 choice behind their childhood dream.

THE 72-hole strokeplay format to be used in Rio has created much conjecture. I’m all for strokeplay as ultimately the best players win more often. What could be done is to somehow create an extra medal for teams, similar to the World Cup. Think of it as the doubles event of golf.

MY DAUGHTER Zara is a state representative in golf and has already told me that one of her goals is to play at the Olympics. She already knows the effect that winning a medal has on people. I recently spoke at the Aaron Baddeley junior series finals. To keep the kids interested, I thought I would use some props. So I took a Wimbledon and Davis Cup trophy along with my gold medal. Guess what they gravitated towards? The gold medal got a lot of social media activity that night! It’s also important to point out the Olympics is huge for women’s golf. Their Majors don’t have the history of the men and this will help promote the women’s game enormously. Inclusion and equality is an issue that golf is only just starting to address and the importance of Olympic and national representation, particularly in Asia, is a key driving point to investment in the professional sport.

GOLF, as a sport, is a family affair for the Woodbridges. We all play and love the competing and social side it offers. Golf’s handicap system allows you to play together no matter your age or ability. No other sport in the world offers that. Not to mention I have had some pretty special golfing holidays and I can honestly say I’ve never been to an ugly golf course.

I HAVE had two great highlights in golf. One was winning the Coolum Classic with great friend Payne Stewart and the other was winning the Victorian Sir Dallas Brooks Matchplay foursomes with Zara when she was 12. What’s my goal now? To see if I can get down to scratch. My best (handicap) so far is 2.5. But I’m determined to do better.

WHICH golfers will win gold at Rio? Even as an avid fan of tournament golf, it’s hard to say for the men – particularly with so many withdrawing. But an Aussie win would change the views of many detractors. For the women, New Zealand may be counting on a gold from Lydia Ko. She is so good under pressure and I have a feeling she will love the atmosphere of Rio.

Golf in the Olympics