Despite strong fields in the men's and women's competitions, a number of golf's biggest names will not be in Tokyo...
The Big Names Missing From The Olympics
Tokyo 2020 is here as golf returns to the Olympics for only the second time since 1904.
The turnout at Rio was slightly disappointing, with many of the world’s best players withdrawing due to fears over the Zika virus.
We thought that this year’s Games would feature the strongest field possible, which it almost is, but sadly some players have once again withdrawn.
Excuses this time range from Covid-19 fears to scheduling issues with the FedEx Cup culminating just a few weeks after the conclusion of the Olympics golf event.
So, who are the big names that will not be competing at Kasumigaseki Country Club?
The Big Names Missing From The Olympics
The World No.2 withdrew from Tokyo 2020 last year due to wanting to prioritise the FedEx Cup and he once again withdrew from the postponed Games.
DJ would have been one of the favourites for Gold but instead will remain Stateside in his quest for a second FedEx Cup.
He is the only US player to have withdrawn from the Olympics, with both USA men’s and women’s sides looking very strong.
Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood
The three Englishmen all chose to not play for Team GB in Tokyo, meaning that Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood will be Great Britain’s hopes for retaining the Gold Medal won by Justin Rose last time out.
Hatton blamed Covid-19 travel issues and the schedule, Westwood’s reason for skipping was the packed schedule, whilst Fitzpatrick did not publicly state his reason.
Charley Hull and Georgia Hall
Charley Hull withdrew from Team GB due to scheduling issues and her replacement Georgia Hall also opted out, meaning five leading Team GB contenders all passed up on the chance of competing in Tokyo.
Mel Reid qualified and Jodi Ewart Shadoff took up the second spot after Hull and Hall’s withdrawals.
“I’ve been thinking long and hard over the past few months about this year’s Olympics and whether or not I’d be able to give my best performance given all the scheduling and travel challenges involved,” Hull said in a statement.
“Obviously it would be a huge privilege to represent my country but I have, very reluctantly, made the tough decision not to travel this year which has been very hard given all the amazing memories I have from my experience in Rio five years ago.”
“I was honoured to have the opportunity to represent Team GB in Tokyo this year,” Georgia Hall said.
“However, it has been an exhausting schedule spending three months away from home and, with the current restrictions in place due to Covid-19, I feel it’s the best decision for me not to go.
“I don’t feel that going to Japan would allow me to prepare properly for the important few weeks ahead. I wish Team GB the best of luck in Tokyo and will be supporting them all the way.”
The South African said it was “humbling” to qualify for South Africa but confirmed in a statement that he will not be making the trip to Japan.
“Qualifying for the Olympics is a humbling accomplishment and there’s no greater honor than representing your country, so it has been a very difficult decision for me, my team and my family to withdraw from playing in Tokyo,” he said.
South Africa’s two male competitors will be Garrick Higgo and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
Sergio was in Rio for the return of golf last time but surrendered his spot this time alongside Jon Rahm, who will be joined by Adri Arnaus.
Garcia was keen to play but ultimately decided to skip the Games due to his desire to make the European Ryder Cup team.
The Aussie has now withdrawn from both the 2016 and 2020/21 Games.
Scott was one of the earliest withdrawals back in April, revealing that the packed schedule meant he wanted to be at home with his family instead of travelling to Japan.
Australia will be represented by Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman in the men’s tournament.
The two-time Major winner and former World No.1 withdrew due the Games not offering the full ‘Olympic’ experience for athletes this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“Everything is so difficult. There is no team spirit. It will just be like a really normal tournament this time,” he said.
Germany’s men will be Max Kieffer and World No.269 Hurly Long.
The 2018 Open champion unfortunately had to withdraw from the Games due to a back injury.
The Italian announced the injury after missing the cut at Royal St George’s.
He’ll be replaced by Renato Paratore in the Italian side, partnering Guido Migliozzi.
The Austrian will not be making his second Olympics appearance this year.
“Personally, I am very sorry that I have to officially withdraw the registration for Tokyo 2020 and that I can not represent Austria at the upcoming Olympics,” he said.
“The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio was a great experience and definitely a highlight of my career so far. For the development of golf, it is important that golf has a stage at the Olympic Games.”
Big name Americans and Koreans missing out
Due to the Olympic qualifying format, nations are allowed a maximum of four golfers per gender – and that’s only if there are four of the same nation inside the world’s top 15.
There are more than four American men inside the top 15 and this means that the likes of Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed missed out on the US men’s side along with Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Harris English and Tony Finau.
The Korean women’s team is even harder to get into, as their team is currently made up of four of the world’s top five – meaning that if you’re not inside the world’s top five, you’re not qualifying!
World No.15 Min Jee Park failed to qualify, as did No.18 So Yeon Ryu.