In Tokyo it will be the fourth five-circle appearance for men, the third for women, the second in recent times though. Yes, because the first two participations of golf in the Olympics date back to 1900 and 1904, all in black and white, with a women's competition that in the Paris edition was marked by confusion and bad organization.
To the point that the first Olympic gold medal in golf, the American Margaret Abbott, competing with her mother Mary Ives, never knew that what she had participated in was an Olympics tournament. Then after a hole over a hundred years old, the green returned to the Games four years ago in Rio, crowning the British Justin Rose and the Korean Park In-bee.
In Tokyo there is great anticipation for golf, because five years later - due to postponement due to the pandemic and the postponement of the Games to 2021 - the movement has grown further. And if in Brazil it was a novelty, in Japan it seeks its consecration: on the historic path of the Kasumigaseki Country Club, 120 athletes, 60 men and 60 women will fight each other (given the reduced field compared to traditional tournaments, the cut will not be foreseen).
The first 15 of the world order of merit automatically access with a maximum of 4 per Nation. Japan is entitled to 2 seats (included in the total 120 count), one for the men's tournament and one for the women's tournament.
The big names will compete from 29 July to 1 August, while from 4 to 7 August it will be the women's turn. The competition course is one of the oldest in the world: about 45 km from the city center (north-west area) it was inaugurated in 1929, and immediately became one of the most important courses in Japan, the first with 36 holes.
It underwent a first makeover in 1930 by former architect Charles Hugh Alison and the second in 2016 by Tom Fazio. Who has redesigned a path that will put men and women to the test. "We have had 90 years to prepare and we can't wait to show off the beauty of this field" the words of Ryoichi Ohno, head of the club that will host the super five-circle challenge.
Tiger Woods, Olympics
Which will see a great challenge between the big names, despite several absences of weight: like that of Tiger Woods who dreamed of crowning gold an endless career. But the serious car accident compromised the American champion's entire season.
Then there will not be the three main protagonists of Rio. From the English Justin Rose (gold) to the Swedish Henrik Stenson (silver), up to the American Matt Kuchar (bronze): none of the three qualified. Also absent were Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott, the Spaniard Sergio Garcia and the British Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick.
As for Italy, in Rio there were Nino Bertasio and Matteo Manassero, who joined after the resignation of Chicco Molinari (the blue champion had said no for fear of zika). Molinari will not even be in Tokyo, this time to stop him from a back injury that has tormented him all season.
To defend the blue colors, Renato Paratore was called up at the last minute in place of the Turin player. With him Guido Migliozzi, great protagonist this season, fresh from fourth place at the US Open, at his first major: a debut in five circles for both.
A double also goes to the women with Giulia Molinaro, 30 years old from Veneto, who finished 53rd in Rio and in Tokyo celebrates her bis participation: with her also Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso, 25 years old from Turin, at her Olympic debut. A poker of champions for Italy.