An unbylined Russian Television story pretty much lays out the scenario that International Golf Federation organizers and Olympic golf boosters predicted about including the game as part of the Olympics. Namely, the push to develop players in places that traditionally have not funded or paid attention to golf. Like Russia.
One of the main prospects is Vladimir Osipov. He is just 16, and would turn 21 at the Rio Olympics.
The Games will see the return of golf, after just two appearances, early in the 20th century. But to make an Olympic dream come true, players need to dig deep. “Of course I want to go to the Olympics,” he said. “But, to give myself a chance, I need to be high up in the world rankings. So I'll have to turn pro soon and start racking up ranking points, and improve my game.”
For this season, the youngster is setting his sights on the European Amateur Team Championships in Portugal in September, and then probably the World event.
The Russian national side are fresh from a training camp in America and local trainers praised their progress as a unit.
But the sport's officials are after strong performances, not just words of approval. “To go to the Rio Olympics, golfers will need to rocket up the world rankings,” Nikolay Afanasiev from Russia’s Golf Association said.