Even many of the best golf historians will tell you that golf has never been held in the Olympics but, in fact, twice the sport has been on the modern Olympic program. On 2 October 1900, twelve gentlemen gathered to play 36 holes of golf at the Compiègne Club, about 30 miles north of Paris. Though only a few of them may have realized it at the time, they were the participants in the first Olympic golf tournament.
There were two golf events in 1900 – one for gentlemen and one for ladies, using the vernacular of the time. Charles Sands, of the St. Andrews Golf Club in Yonkers, New York, played the Compiègne course in rounds of 82-85 to win the gentlemen’s event by one shot over Walter Rutherford of Jedburgh, Scotland. The next day, the ladies’ event took place and was won by Margaret Abbott of the Chicago Golf Club, who played her requisite nine holes in 47 strokes. A third competition was held on the final day. However, this was a handicap event for men, and cannot be considered of Olympic caliber. An exhibition match between two professionals was also held at the same time.