Golf | Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood Seek Team GB Gold

Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood will look to maintain Team GB’s gold standard in the men’s golf event after being revealed as the country’s representatives at Tokyo 2020. 

golf tokyo 2020 team gb

Justin Rose memorably took gold for GB in Rio five years ago as golf returned to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years.

Jodi Ewart-Shadoff and Mel Reid will compete in the women’s event, with all four athletes making their Olympic debut.

Experienced squad for Tokyo

Casey heads to Tokyo as a 21-year professional, taking the most recent of his 21 European Tour victories in January this year. The 43-year-old has also represented Europe in the Ryder Cup four times, being victorious on three of those occasions.

His win in Dubai over the winter moved him back into the world’s top 20.

Fleetwood enjoyed a stunning debut at the Ryder Cup in 2018, winning four out of five points.  He also holds five victories on the European Tour.

Reid was vice-captain as Europe beat the United States in the 2019 Solheim Cup, and picked up a first LGPA tour victory last year.  Ewart-Shadoff was also part of that Solheim Cup team, taking a second win after making a successful debut as a rookie in the 2013 event.

Stars slowly warming to Olympics

Tokyo 2020 sees golf’s top names slowly beginning to embrace the Olympics, although many continue to stay away and concentrate on PGA events.

Bubba Watson was the top ranked player (5) to take part in Rio, with a host of household names such as Rory McIlroy, Jordan Speith and world number one Jason Day all refusing to compete.  Jon Rahm, currently ranked first, will take his place in Tokyo.

Many were concerned by the possible effects of the Zika virus epidemic – linked to birth defects in unborn children.  Asymptomatic carriers can still carry the virus and pass it on to their sexual partners months after infection.

There were also notions that an Olympic gold wasn’t considered a top prize by those at the top of the game – rumours that surround other mainstream sports at the Games, including tennis and football.

More of the women’s game’s top players took the opportunity to compete in Rio, despite the risks to pregnant women and unborn children.

paul casey team gb

Tokyo 2020 still hit by well-known withdrawals

However, 15 men decided to withdraw ahead of Tokyo – including Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen - and concentrate on their already busy schedule.  In contrast, only four of the game’s leading women ruled themselves out ahead of any announcements.

Lee Westwood – another to withdraw before selection was decided - spoke about the issue in May ahead of the PGA Championship at Ocean Course.

He said: “'I’ve given notice that I'm not going to play in the Olympics – for many reasons. I have a few family commitments, and I already proved a few weeks ago that playing seven in eight weeks is not good for me.

"I think going to Japan the week before Memphis is a bad idea, especially when I can't say whether I'm in it at the moment anyway. I'm of an age where I need to make a plan and stick to that going forward, else my game suffers."

Tokyo Olympics

Golf has quickly re-established itself at the Olympics and was a TV hit for broadcasters – with an impressive 10 million watching Rose’s victory on the BBC, and 8.8m watching the conclusion of the men’s tournament in the USA.

These figures came at a time of declining viewer numbers Stateside, and the Olympic tournament gained over 3m more viewers than the final rounds of both the US Open and PGA Championships.

The men’s event at Tokyo 2020 takes place between July 29 and August 1, with the women’s event taking place between August 4 and 7. Both will be played on the Kasumigaseki Country Club’s east course.

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