After Justin Rose won golf's first Olympic gold medal in 112 years at the Rio Games, golf will be returning this summer in Tokyo. With the tournament being held at Kasumigaseki Country Club, the Tokyo Games are sure to offer yet another picturesque landscape for golf on sports' grandest stage.
Inbee Park, the women's gold medalist at the Rio Games, is in position to return to the Olympics to defend her title. The 32-year-old remains one of the top-ranked female golfers on the planet, though one of her fellow countrywomen -- Ko Jin-young -- is currently ranked above her.
Henrik Stenson is also in position to make a return to the Olympics. The 45-year-old Swede took home a silver medal at the Rio Games and fell just short of winning the title after Justin Rose's late-round heroics. Stenson and Alex Noren appear to be the favorites to represent Sweden this time around.
Much can happen in the months leading up to the Tokyo Games, but Justin Rose, the defending men's gold medalist, is not expected to qualify for the tournament this summer. Rose currently ranks 38th on the Official World Golf Ranking with several other Englishmen, including Tyrrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Paul Casey, all ranked comfortably above him. In order to compete in Tokyo, Rose will likely need a very strong spring to rise up the rankings.
U.S. golfer Rickie Fowler is also not expected to return to the Olympics this summer. Fowler, 32, is currently ranked 95th on the Official World Golf Ranking. The former PGA Tour Rookie of the Year represented the United States at the Rio Games, but failed to come home with any hardware.
New Faces to Watch
American golfer Justin Thomas is expected to make his Olympic debut this summer in Tokyo. The 27-year-old (he turns 28 in late April) won the 2017 PGA Championship and is currently ranked the No. 2 golfer in the world, per the Official World Golf Ranking. With fellow American Dustin Johnson opting not to participate in the Tokyo Games, Thomas has a chance to headline the tournament for the United States as he looks to give his country its first Olympic gold medal in golf in over a century.
U.S. golfer Bryson DeChambeau may earn a trip to Tokyo as well. The 27-year-old has become one of the PGA Tour's brightest stars and won the 2020 U.S. Open in September. DeChambeau is the PGA Tour's longest driver and could become a sensation in Tokyo thanks to his unique playing style and eccentric personality.
Rory McIlroy, widely considered one of the top golfers of the modern era, may also make his Olympic debut in Japan. The 31-year-old native of Northern Ireland planned to participate in the Rio Games, but pulled out of the tournament due to concerns over the Zika virus.