Re: Is golf a sport?
As you all have included chess in this debate in addition to golf, let me put a few if my own thoughts forward.
I happen to play and compete in both 'sports'. Chess at a very high level, and golf at a 'learner' level (handicap of twenty).
So let's start with golf as this is the main topic. I certainly believe it's a sport. There's a common misconception that there's no physical elements involved to playing it, but I would say its quite the opposite. If anyone actually bothers to play the sport, I'm sure they'd soon find out that going through even nine holes is a physically demanding task, let alone a full eighteen holes. Not only the strength and control needed to hit the ball in to the desired location, also the stamina needed. There's an overlap between the mental attributes and the physical counterparts. Three hours of concentrating can take it out of you, so it's essential to possess a good level of stamina.
Chess isn't a sport, but it's still the most competitive activity that I know of, and this aspect *of it is under-appreciated. I think together with golf, it is the most mentally challenging game or sport, so anyone who is successful in either deserves far more respect than being labelled a fat bastard.