Golf at the Tokyo Olympics

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.

When will the Olympic golf tournaments take place?

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.

Which big stars will play?

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).

Which stars won’t be playing?

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).

Who will and won’t be playing in the women’s event?

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.

Who are the defending champions from Rio 2016?

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.

How many players will take part?

The Olympic field is restricted to 60 players for each of the men’s and women’s competitions.

How does qualification work?

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).

Where will it take place?

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.

What is the Olympic 2021 golf course like?

Kasumigaseki Country Club 1

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.

What is the Olympic tournament format?

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.

How popular is golf in Japan?

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.

Was the return of golf as an Olympic sport a success?

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.”

Men’s teams

Australia: Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman

Austria: Matthias Schwab, Sepp Straka

Belgium: Thomas Detry, Thomas Pieters

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

Women’s teams

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

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