The event will be a 72-hole strokeplay 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 many players will take part?
The Olympic field is restricted to 60 players for each of the men’s and women’s competitions.
How many nations will take part?
Of the 206 nations that will take part in the Games, it is thought around 40 will enter competitors into the golf events.
How does qualification work?
The International Golf Federation will use the official world rankings to create the Olympic Golf Rankings as a method of determining qualification. The top-15 world-ranked players will be eligible for the Olympics, with a limit of four players from a given country. 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).
Which big stars will be competing?
Both gold medal winners from Rio, Justin Rose and Inbee Park, are expected to defend their titles. Rory McIlroy who missed Rio in 2016, has said he will most likely make his Olympic debut in Tokyo and will represent Ireland rather than Great Britain. “I’m excited to be going to the Olympics. I’m excited to play for Ireland,” McIlroy said. “I don’t feel a connection to either flag. Not everyone is (driven by) nationalism and patriotism.” Tiger Woods also said he wants to make his Olympic bow, and is currently 3rd-ranked golfer in the USA Olympic golf standings, so would qualify. He is currently behind Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson in the rankings. “Yes, that would be a first for me and something that I would certainly welcome if I was part of the team,” said Woods.
What is the Olympic 2020 golf course like?
Founded in 1929, the Kasumigaseki Country Club has hosted several professional and amateur tournaments. It has been a men’s-only club for nearly 40 years, but it announced in May that it granted women full membership privileges, following pressure from the International Olympic Comittee. 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 for the event. He halved the number of bunkers, but those that remain are large, flashed up, and pinch fairway landing areas and approaches to the greens. The parkland course appears quite flat but is not without undulation, from 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.
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 favorite 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 negativity and 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.”