There were two open spots available with seven sports bidding for the spots for inclusion in the 2016 program: baseball and softball – which were dropped from the program in 2005 – karate, squash, golf, roller sports and rugby all applied to be included. Leaders of the seven sports made their presentation to the IOC executive board in June 2009.
In August of that year, the executive board initially gave its approval to rugby by a majority vote, which removed baseball, roller sports, and squash from contention. Among the remaining three – golf, karate, and softball – the board approved golf after much discussion resulting in the agreement that PGA and LPGA superstars would show strong support by participating in promotional events. The final decision regarding the remaining two sports was made in October 2009 on the final day of the 121st IOC Session. It was at this session that a new system was put in place indicating that a sport only needed a simple majority from the full IOC committee for approval rather than the two-thirds majority previously required.
It remains to be seen how golf, a sport that could take a minimum of four hours to complete, will be inserted into the Olympic format and received by the sports community. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story and others leading to the Rio Games.