It’s finally here, golf’s return to the Olympics.
For all the noise surrounding golf’s return to the Games, now it’s about 72 holes of stroke play. We can quibble about the format (there has to be a better way) but it’s set for this year so let’s let it happen.
The Gil Hanse-designed course has a linksy feel to it, there are only 60 players and there’s a gold medal on the line.
Who’s going home with gold?
Here are our five picks:
1. Henrik Stenson: He ran out of gas over the final nine holes at the PGA Championship when he had the opportunity to win consecutive major championships. Stenson has gotten a week of rest and there’s no reason to think he won’t be dialed in again. When he’s on, he’s the man to beat.
2. Sergio Garcia: Think about this — what if Garcia wins the gold medal but never wins a major championship? It could happen. Sergio had a nice run of top-10 finishes snapped by a missed cut at the PGA Championship but he’s always been exceptional when he’s playing for a team or a flag. This could be his week.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) August 9, 2016
3. Patrick Reed: Too bad for him it’s not match play with the way he loves that format. Reed has been talking up the Olympics and his excitement for this week. He may be the early leader in the clubhouse in terms of excitement.
— Patrick Reed (@PReedGolf) August 9, 2016
4. Padraig Harrington: He’s been on a nice roll recently and no one will grind harder than Harrington. It’s a stretch to think he could win in Rio but with a smaller field and the good vibes he brings with him, anything is possible.
— Padraig Harrington (@padraig_h) August 8, 2016
5. Bubba Watson: It’s been a while since Watson has been in contention anywhere. He hasn’t had a top-10 finish since the Tour was at Doral in March. But Bubba would love to be the first golfer in 112 years to win a gold medal.