LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Few things in golf get Suzann Pettersen more excited than the Olympics in 2016.
''Growing up in Norway, the Olympics was the biggest thing in sports,'' she said. ''I never thought that I would ever compete in an Olympic Games as a golfer. So when that chance came up a couple years ago, it was a very obvious goal for me. It would be nice to complete a career with a gold medal or a medal in the Olympics. That's kind of where I see my road right now, and it's quite exciting.''
Some players believe an Olympic gold medal would not be as valuable as a U.S. Open trophy, a green jacket, a claret jug or even a jump into the pond at the Kraft Nabisco. Pettersen believes that will change over time, assuming golf becomes a permanent part of the Olympic program.
''I think it will take a generation to build the kind of respect and the honor it is to actually have a gold medal in golf,'' she said. ''I think you will see the kids at 4, 5 years old now seeing Rory and Tiger compete for an Olympic medal. Once they see that, they want to be there, as well, and I think that's when you start building the new generation where the Olympics would be a major part of the sport of golf.''
Her Olympic inspiration came from winter sports, and she lists skier Kjetil Andre Aamodt as Norway's greatest Olympian (putting him ahead of skater Johann Olav Koss). As for the best Olympian in summer sports?
''Summer is not our strongest season,'' she said.
OBNOXIOUS FANS: Keegan Bradley's comments about a fan at the World Challenge who called him a cheater for using a belly putter gave Graeme McDowell a platform to speak out against another kind of noise from the gallery that has gone on too long.
''You da man!'' has given way to ''Get in the hole!'' to ''Mashed potatoes.''
''I'm kind of fed up with all this 'mashed potatoes' and all this rubbish that the crowd are kind of enjoying shouting right now,'' McDowell said after his win at Sherwood.
''Keegan had a guy out there ... after every shot he was 'Yabba dabba doing' and it was just stupid. It's something for the players. It's not a lot of fun, and it's kind of becoming a little bit of a cool thing to do for the spectators. It gives them their two or three seconds of fame. But it gets a little frustrating for everyone.''
DIVOTS: Counting only past champions who played in eight or more events last year, the PGA Tour membership for 2013 features 80 players from 21 countries outside the United States. Australia continues to lead the way with 22 players, followed by 10 each from South Korea, England and Sweden. ... Jason Dufner, coming off a breakthrough year of two wins and an impressive Ryder Cup debut, will be playing in Abu Dhabi and Qatar in January. That means missing three PGA Tour events he played this year -- Sony Open, Humana Challenge and Northern Trust Open. Asked his first time to play overseas, Dufner mentioned Panama on the Nationwide Tour. ''That's probably not what you meant, is it?'' he said. ... The HSBC Women's Champions returns to Singapore next year with its $1.4 million purse, though it is changing courses to Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club. The tournament will be played Feb. 28 to March 3. ... Ricardo Santos won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award on the European Tour, making him the first pl
ayer from Portugal to do so. Santos won the Madeira Islands Open.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Three players who earned their cards at Q-School on Monday have never competed in a PGA Tour event: Si Woo Kim, Donald Constable and Henrik Norlander.
FINAL WORD: ''It feels like we've been here for a month.'' -- Ross Fisher, after earning his PGA Tour card at Q-School.