Golf is back for the Tokyo 2020(2021) Olympic Games! Did you know that is the second time that golf has appeared back-to-back in Olympic games? The first time was in 1900 & 1904, the first two times golf was ever in the Olympics. The first time golf was put into the Olympic event schedule was in the Paris 1900 games, the second time it appeared in St. Louis in 1904, after those two Olympic years, golf was not seen in the Olympics until Rio 2016.
So why care about golf in the Olympics? Well, the USA has a very good chance for medals in both the men’s individual and women’s individual competitions. Let’s take a look at Team USA: In the men’s competition the team is comprised of: Justin Thomas (Highest Ranking Player for Team USA -3rd in the world), Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffle and Patrick Reed (Patrick replaced Bryson DeChambeau after testing positive for Covid prior to travel). In the women’s competition for team USA we have: Nellie Korda (Ranke#1 in the world), Danielle Kang, Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda. Nellie Korda and Jessica Korda are actually sisters competing together in these games. Also, this is Lexi Thompson’s second time appearing on the golf team for USA, she and Patrick Reed are the only returning players from Rio 2016.
Looking back to the Rio Games in 2016, a medal was actually won for the United States by Matt Kuchar. Matt won the bronze medal in the men’s competition by shooting a 63 in the final round. There are some returning players from the podium in Rio that are competing again in Tokyo, which may make it more difficult for the United States to medal in these events. In the women’s competition both the reigning gold (Inbee Park) & silver (Lydia Ko) medalists are returning to compete in Tokyo. No one from the Rio men’s golf podium returned to the games this year; Justin Rose (Gold), Henrik Stenson(Silver) or the bronze medalist Matt Kuchar. Someone to look for in these games is Hideki Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters Champion. Hideki will be competing in his home country of Japan in a year that he has already won big.
Covid has already affected these games in a multitude of ways, but a major one is that there are major players that will be missing the games due to positive covid tests. As per covid protocol, the players must be tested prior to leaving for the games. Bryson DeChambeau had to drop out of the competition because he tested positive for covid right before travelling to Tokyo. Jon Rahm, the #1 ranked world player, also had a similar situation happen to him as Dechambeau, where he was forced to drop out due to a positive covid test, prior to leaving for the games. So far the women’s US team has not had any substitutions due to covid, let’s all hope to keep it that way.
Players will travel an hour north west from the olympic village to Kasumigaseki CC, a private 36 hole country club just outside of Tokyo city. Round 1 of the men’s competition starts July 28th at 6:30pm EST at Kasumigaseki Country Club and the women’s competition begins on August 3rd at 6:30pm EST. Keep your eyes on Team USA for two great competitions and let’s see if we can bring home the gold!
Go Team USA!