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Golf at the Summer Games in Rio Explained

The announcement that in 2016 we’d see golf at the Summer Games in Rio was met with excitement by golf fans the world over. The last time that golf was included in the summer games was way, way back in 1900 and 1904, so it is definitely time for it to be included again – a century is a long time to wait! While there was initially speculation that pro-golfers wouldn’t really care about being a part of the Summer Games (because what’s a medal compared to purses of millions?) but the truth is that those pros that have been asked seemed really enthusiastic about the opportunity to represent their country at the Games. Canadian pro golfer Adam Hadwin told the Toronto Sun that if he got to represent his country he’d probably cry at the opening ceremonies, and Tiger Woods said he’d love the opportunity to represent the US.

A brand new course is being built for the event, at the stunningly gorgeous Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca, just west of Rio de Janeiro. The course has been designed by Gil Hanse, whose previous projects include Castle Stuart Golf Links in Scotland and the Boston Golf Club, and will become the city’s first public golf course once the 2016 games are over.

The International Golf Federation has proposed that a 72-hole individual stroke play competition be used to determine who gets the gold, for both the men’s and women’s competition. Player selection will be limited to a maximum of four players per country provided that they are in the top 15 world-ranked-players, and countries that have players that are ranked outside of the top 15 will be allowed a maximum of two eligible players. Brazil, being the host country, gets an automatic entry of one female and one male player even if they aren’t ranked as world’s best. There will be 60 male and 60 female golfers in all taking part.

For a country like the US, which currently has eight players in the top 15 world-ranked-players, this would mean that three of their golfing heroes wouldn’t get the opportunity to go for gold – as it stands right now the US men’s team would currently include Jordan Spieth (#2), Dustin Johnson (#3), Bubba Watson (#5) & Jim Furyk (#6). This could all change though, as golfers have until July 11th 2016 to rank high enough.

Including golf in the Summer Games should bring a whole new group of people to appreciate the summer games, and want to watch either right there in Rio (and tickets to watch the golf are set to be some of the cheapest at the games) or on the TV. But golf isn’t the only sport being re-introduced to the summer games – rugby will also be a part of the Rio Summer Games, and was last featured in the line-up for the 1924 games in Paris.

Want to be there at the games to see the world’s best golfers compete? We have a range of 2016 Summer Games Packages and can create a custom package that tailors exactly to your needs and desires. We’ll get you to the games, put you up in style, and show you the best time in Rio. Contact us to find out how we can make your Summer Games dreams come true. 

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Our hosts were knowledgeable and professional. They were very accessible and helpful. Attention to detail was exceptional.

— Bruce Cox, 2012 Summer Games in London