The road to Tokyo 2020 is heating up and some big names are set to miss out...
When is it?
The Olympic Men’s Competition begins six days after the opening ceremony in Tokyo, and 11 days after The Open finishes. It will be played over 72 holes of strokeplay at Kasumigaseki Country Club’s East Course (pictured below), one of Japan’s oldest golf courses, from July 30-August 2 – the same date as the British Masters. The Women’s tournament follows the same format and begins three days after the men’s event ends, from August 5-8.
How does the qualification work?
Each field will be made up of 60 players, with at least one spot being held for a golfer from the host country (Japan) if one does not otherwise qualify. Places will be allocated based on World Ranking points accrued since July 1, 2018. The cut-off point for the Men’s Competition is June 22, 2020, while the Women’s ends a week later.
Doesn’t that favour the United States?
Not quite. No more than two players of each gender are eligible to play for the same nation, but there is a provision to allow up to four players if all are ranked inside the top 15 in the world. That rule would currently benefit Dustin Johnson and Tiger, but penalise the likes of Waste Management Phoenix Open champion Webb Simpson, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
I thought a lot of the players weren’t interested in playing…
That was in 2016, when concerns over scheduling and the Zika virus saw 27 players withdraw, including the top four male golfers in the world. Rory was one of them, but he’s already joined Tiger in declaring his intention to represent his country in Tokyo.
And which country will Rory be representing?
Ireland. The current rankings have Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose representing Team GB in the Men’s Competition, with Charley Hull and Bronte Law flying the flag in the Women’s Competition.