Valero Texas Open: The race to The Masters
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Golf will be back at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. At All Square we have put together a list of questions you may have about the men’s and women’s events and the details of what you need to know.
The men’s competition will be held July 29 – August 1; the women’s competition will be held August 4-7 at the same location.
US Open champion Jon Rahm will be there for Spain. He will be joined by Rafa Cabrera Bello, who replaces Sergio Garcia. For the American team, Justin Thomas, Open champion Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau all qualified and are slated to attend. They will be joined by Rory McIlroy (Ireland), Viktor Hovland (Norway), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Paul Casey (Great Britain), Abraham Ancer (Mexico), Sungjae Im (South Korea), Tommy Fleetwood (Great Britain), Corey Conners (Canada) and Shane Lowry (Ireland).
Dustin Johnson announced earlier this year that he would not be competing, even if he qualified (which he did), and he was followed by Sergio Garcia (Spain), Tyrrell Hatton (Great Britain), Adam Scott (Australia) and Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa).
The United States, led by World No. 1 Nelly Korda, and the Republic of Korea, led by World No. 2 Jin Young Ko and defending 2016 gold medalist Inbee Park, are the only two countries to send the maximum four players to Japan. The only noticeable dropouts are South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace and Great Britain’s Charley Hull. The full men’s and women’s teams are listed below.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Justin Rose claimed the gold medal for Great Britain. Henrik Stenson won the silver for Sweden and Matt Kuchar the bronze for the United States. Inbee Park won the women’s gold for South Korea, New Zealand‘s Lydia Ko won the silver, and Shansha Feng from China the bronze.
All three will play in Tokyo, but the three male medal winners from Rio did not qualify this time for their respective Olympic teams.
The Olympic field is restricted to 60 players for each of the men’s and women’s competitions.
The International Golf Federation uses the official world rankings to create the Olympic Golf Rankings as a method of determining qualification. All of the top 15 golfers in the world are eligible to compete in the Olympics, but each country is limited to a maximum of four Olympians overall, which means golfers like Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson, though they are in the top 15 in the world, won’t be going.
The US is the only country sending the maximum of four. The rest of the 60-man field is filled out based on the highest-ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings with a max of two golfers per country, unless that country has two or more in the top 15 (in which case a given could take up to four golfers).
Remaining positions will go to the highest ranked players from other nations that do not already have two players. The IGF has guaranteed at least one golfer from the host nation, Japan, in each event as well as at least one competitor from each continent (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania).
The Olympic golf competitions will be held at Kasumigaseki Country Club, a private course in the prefecture of Saitama, about 30km north of central Tokyo.
Founded in 1929, the Kasumigaseki Country Club has hosted several professional tournaments. It is considered among the top 100 courses in the world. The Olympics will be played on the East Course, which has been stretched out to 7,466 yards including the 640-yard fifth hole. Tom Fazio (Augusta National‘s consulting architect) was brought in to oversee course alterations. He halved the number of bunkers, but those that remain are large, flashed up, and pinch fairway landing areas and green approaches. The parkland course appears quite flat but is not without undulation, from a slightly sidehill aspect of the opening tee shot to the final valley approach. The East Course is, like many in Japan, heavily treed, but the fairways are quite generous.
The event will be a 72-hole stroke-play format most golf fans are familiar with. The difference is that there can be no ties for the first three places, so a three-hole play-off may be required for gold, silver and bronze medals.
There are some 2,200 golf courses in Japan, almost as many as the UK and Ireland combined. Most are of incredible standard but also private and exclusive, seen as a reason for a 30% drop in participation numbers over the last 20 years. The country has started to relax membership rules as it tries to reverse that trend and Japan is now a favourite vacation destination for serious golfers. The Olympics could prove a huge boost for the sport in the country.
After an absence of 112 years, golf returned as an Olympics sport at Rio 2016, for only the third time in history. Despite apathy in the golfing world leading up to the Olympics, it ended up being a resounding success with patriotic, sell-out crowds. After winning his gold medal, Justin Rose said: “This has resonated far wider than my US Open win.” IGF President Peter Dawson said: ”The reaction has been terrific. It is going to increase exposure in smaller countries, get more government recognition and funding, which, apart from expanding our competitive landscape, is why we did this.”
Australia: Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman
Austria: Matthias Schwab, Sepp Straka
Canada: Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes
Chile: Joaquin Niemann, Mito Pereira
China: Yechun Yuan, Ashun Wu
Colombia: Sebastian Munoz
Czech Republic: Ondrej Lieser
Denmark: Rasmus Hojgaard, JB Hansen
Finland: Kalle Samooja, Sami Valimaki
France: Antoine Rozner, Romain Langasque
Germany: Max Kieffer, Hurly Long
Great Britain: Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood
India: Anirban Lahiri, Udayan Mane
Ireland: Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry
Italy: Guido Migliozzi, Francesco Molinari
Japan: Hideki Matsuyama, Rikuya Hoshino
Malaysia: Gavin Green
Mexico: Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz
New Zealand: Ryan Fox
Norway: Viktor Hovland, Kristian K Johannessen
Paraguay: Fabrizio Zanotti
Phillipines: Juvic Pagunsan
Poland: Adrian Meronk
Puerto Rico: Rafael Campos
South Africa: Garrick Higgo, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
South Korea: Sungjae Im, Si Woo Kim
Slovakia: Rory Sabbatini
Spain: Jon Rahm, Adri Arnaus
Sweden: Alex Noren, Henrik Norlander
Taiwan: CT Pan
Thailand: Jazz Janewattananond, Gunn Charoenkul
USA: Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau
Venezuela: Jhonattan Vegas
Zimbabwe: Scott Vincent
Argentina: Magdalena Simmermacher
Austria: Christine Wolf
Australia: Minjee Lee, Hannah Green
Belgium: Manon De Roey
Canada: Brooke Henderson, Alena Sharp
China: Shanshan Feng, Xiyu Lin
Chinese Taipei: Wei-Ling Hsu, Min Lee
Colombia: Mariajo Uribe
Czech Republic: Klara Spilkova
Denmark: Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Emily Kristine Pedersen
Ecuador: Daniela Darquea
Finland: Matilda Castren, Sanna Nuutinen
France: Celine Boutier, Perrine Delacour
Germany: Sophia Popov, Caroline Masson
Great Britain: Melissa Reid, Jodi Ewart Shadoff
Hong Kong: Tiffany Chan
India: Aditi Ashok
Ireland: Leona Maguire, Stephanie Meadow
Italy: Giulia Molinaro, Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso
Japan: Nasa Hataoka, Mone Inami
Malaysia: Kelly Tan
Mexico: Gaby Lopez, Maria Fassi
Morocco: Maha Haddioui
Netherlands: Anne van Dam
New Zealand: Lydia Ko
Norway: Marianne Skarpnord, Tonje Daffinrud
Philippines: Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan
Puerto Rico: Maria Fernanda Torres
Slovenia: Pia Babnik
South Africa: Ashleigh Buhai
South Korea: Jin Young Ko, Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, Hyo-Joo Kim
Spain: Carlota Ciganda, Azahara Munoz
Sweden: Anna Nordqvist, Madelene Sagstrom
Switzerland: Albane Valenzuela, Morgane Metraux
Thailand: Patty Tavatanakit, Ariya Jutanugarn
United States: Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda