The Olympic Games golf format will remain the same in 2020 after it was revealed the world’s leading players have been informed of details on the road to Tokyo.
According to the Golf Channel, the leading names on the PGA TOUR—as well as golfers worldwide who could make the final field at the Summer Games in two years’ time—have received a memo informing them of the process for deciding who contests the golf competition and gets the chance to shoot for gold in Tokyo.
Despite criticism of the format used when the sport was re-introduced into the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, officials have decided to stick with it for 2020, with the men’s and women’s competitions remaining unaltered.
There will be no match play format once again, which some had been wanting back in 2016 to ensure that players had to beat the best opposition head to head to reach medal playoffs.
Neither will there be a team event or a mixed format involving men and women playing alongside one another. Instead the 72-hole stroke play format will again be used, making the Olympic Games decided in the same way as majors, PGA TOUR and European Tour events.
Method of qualification
Qualification for the Olympics will also be unchanged with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings making the field along with a 60th spot saved for the leading Japanese player as host nation. Should a Japanese player be in the top 59 in the rankings—which will be calculated on performances between 1 July 2018 and 22 June 2020 for the men’s competition; and 8 July 2018 and 29 June 2020 for the women’s competition—the final place will go to the 60th best-ranked player.
With Hideki Matsuyama among the world’s elite in the men’s game and four Japanese women—Ai Suzuki, Nasa Hataoka, Fumika Kawagishi and Haru Nomura—currently ranked inside the top 60, the latter scenario is most likely.
The Olympic Golf Rankings are based on the Official World Golf Rankings points system but calculated during the qualification period only.
The 2020 Olympic Games gets underway on 24 July and will run to 9 August. The men’s and women’s golf medallists will be decided over consecutive weeks at Kasumigaseki Country Club, located in Saitama, around 30km from Tokyo.
An English rose
Great Britain’s Justin Rose became the first gold medal winner since golf was re-introduced into the Olympic Games in 2016 for the first time since 1904. He held off Sweden’s Henrik Stenson in a thrilling final round in Rio in 2016. Stenson won the silver medal with Matt Kuchar taking bronze for the United States.
South Korea’s Inbee Park claimed the gold medal in the women’s competition, becoming the second winner with only one previous tournament held in 1900. Lydia Ko took silver for New Zealand and the bronze went to China’s Shanshan Feng.