The Olympic Games returns for just the fourth time in history this week. Here are your five things to know.
Fourth edition of golf at the Olympic Games
Golf is making just its fourth ever appearance in Olympic Games history this week in Toyko following the sport’s return with Justin Rose’s victory for Great Britain in Rio in 2016.
The two previous editions were held in 1900 and 1904.
New medal winners
During golf’s successful return to the games in 2016, it was Justin Rose who earned gold for Great Britain, Henrik Stenson won silver for Sweden and Matt Kuchar won bronze for the USA during the in Brazil.
But five years later, those medals are guaranteed to go to a new home – as none of the three previous medal winners qualified for this year’s games.
Kasumigaseki Country Club
Kasumigaseki Country Club has a long history of hosting events, including the Canada Cup (1957), Japan Open (1933, 1956, 1995, 2006), Japan Women’s Open (1999), Japan Amateur Golf (1965, 1977), Japan Women’s Amateur Golf (1956, 1964, 1974), Asian Amateur Championship (2010) and the 25th 2019 Japan Junior Golf Championship as the Tokyo 2020 Test Event in August 2019.
The 7,446 yard, par 71 course was closed for two months in preparation for the Olympics, and the result is a venue which has been praised by the athletes for its condition.
“Out here it’s amazing,” said World Number Three Collin Morikawa.
“Conditions are pristine. It’s unfortunate that we’re going to get a little rain, it’s going to be softer than probably what we would hoped for. It’s still going to put a really good test of making sure you’re hitting it really well off the tee, and then seeing what kind of up and downs you can make it. I think you can get some pretty tough lies out here.”
Hideki has experience
Reigning Masters champion Hideki Mastuyama has a unique opportunity to become an Olympic champion in his home country this week, and he’s doing it at a venue where he has already tasted success on two occasions.
In 2009 he won the Japan Junior on Kasumigaseki CC’s East Course and in 2010 he was crowned the Asia Pacific Amateur Champion. Although he hasn’t competed for six weeks after a positive Covid test last month, the home favourite is hoping to draw inspiration from both past his experience.
“In a way Kasumigaseki has been a place and catalyst for me to progress and grow, so hopefully I could do the same this week and move on to another level,” said Mastuyama
“This is the first time playing the Olympics, so I’m not sure how I’m going to feel,” he said, “but I’m going to do my best and try to get myself to the best position possible.”
Embracing the games
From the opening ceremony to taking in the golf course and meeting other athletes, the star-studded field of European Tour members are enjoying their first trips to the Olympic Games.
Here’s just a selection of their posts so far.
Practice round with Colin Morikawa and @justinthomas34 before our pre-tournament interview. Ready for tee off tomorrow at 7:14 pm ET. Excited & ready to represent #TeamUSA 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Qr3fwRBxKN— Xander Schauffele (@XSchauffele) July 27, 2021