Countdown to 2020 Olympics heats up for golf’s elite

It’s doubtful if Rory McIlroy would pass up the chance to chase a gold medal at Tokyo next year.

And another Rio 2016 ‘scratching’, Jason Day, is also expected to head for Japan to hunt for a gold medal when the Olympics head there next year.

Justin Rose Justin Rose won gold at the 2016 Olympics (Credit: IGF Golf)

It is shaping as one of the marquee events of Tokyo, with the country already gripped in something of a golf fever.

And those chosen to compete will be based on a two-year qualifying window that will end for the men on July 22, 2020 and for the women on July 29, 2020.

Naturally the rankings for selection will change over the next year as players accumulate and forfeit points.

Yet we are quite familiar with most of the players who’ll compete for gold, because few of them will actually disappear from the rankings in the next 12 months.

For instance, all players ranked in the world’s top 15 are automatically qualified.

So the US men’s and women’s teams would both be able to send the maximum contingent of four players.

At the moment Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau lead the race to represent their country while the women’s US team would comprise Lexi Thompson, Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang and Jessica Korda.

The only other group in line to hit the four-player max is the South Korean women’s team which at this stage consists of Sung Hyun Park, Jin-Young Ko, Jeongeun Lee6 and 2016 gold medal winner Inbee Park.

Men’s gold medal winner Justin Rose is currently fourth in the overall ranking and would once again represent Great Britain, this time alongside Tommy Fleetwood.

And McIlroy, who opted not to compete in 2016, would represent Ireland alongside Shane Lowry.

The Australian men’s team would more than likely be Day, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith.

The men’s event will be played from July 30-August 2, 2020 at Kasumigaseki Country Club, with the women competing the following week, from August 5-8.