The Olympic Men’s Golf Competition begins Thursday at Kasumigaseki Country Club’s East Course, located about 35 miles outside downtown Tokyo.
Thirty-five countries are represented in the 60-player field. Top-ranked Jon Rahm was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test while No. 2 Dustin Johnson chose not to compete, leaving The Open champion Collin Morikawa as the pre-event favorite.
Tournament notes, betting odds and best bets:
OLYMPIC MEN’S GOLF COMPETITION
- Location: Saitama, Japan, July 29-Aug. 1
- Course: Kasumigaseki Country Club, East Course (Par 71, 7,447 yards)
- Defending Champion: Justin Rose
HOW TO WATCH
- TV: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.-3 a.m. ET (Golf Channel, Round 1); Thursday, 7-9 a.m., 2-5 p.m. (GC, Round 1 re-air), 6:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (GC, Round 2); Friday, 7-9 a.m., 2-5 p.m. (GC, Round 2 re-air), 6:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (GC, Round 3); Saturday, 7-9:30 a.m. (GC, Round 3 re-air), 6:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. (GC, Round 4); Sunday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., 5-8 p.m. (GC, Round 4 re-air).
- Streaming: All four rounds will be streamed at NBCOlympics.com and GolfChannel.com.
- The event format is four rounds of stroke play, with the top-3 finishers winning medals.
- Golf made its return to the Games in 2016 after a 112-year absence. None of the three medalists from four years ago (Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar) qualified for this year’s event, where 35 countries will be represented by at least one player.
- Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau were forced to withdraw following positive COVID-19 tests.
- The United States is the only country that had four players qualify for the 60-player field (Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and DeChambeau). DeChambeau was replaced by Patrick Reed, who is the only American to play in each of the past two Olympics. However, Reed did not have time for a practice round due to testing protocols before his arrival in Tokyo.
- Founded in the 1920s, Kasumigaseki Country Club played host to the 1957 World Cup. The East Course was re-designed by Tom and Logan Fazio in 2016 in preparation for the Olympics and will play host to the men’s and women’s events. It features the Japanese dual-green system with each hole including one green used for summer play and the other for winter.
- The event offers world rankings points and is considered an official event on the European Tour, providing full status to the winner.
- Morikawa (+700 at DraftKings) is clearly not bothered by unknown tournaments or courses, having won each of his first two majors in his debut at the events. He has been backed by the most outright winner bets at DraftKings (6 percent) and the second-most money (7 percent). Morikawa is third at PointsBet with 6.7 percent of the total bets.
- Thomas (+1100) has 14 career PGA Tour victories, with four coming in Asia. That has contributed to 12 percent of the money at DraftKings being wagered on Thomas, who has also been backed by 5 percent of the total bets.
- Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (+1200) won the 2010 Asia-Pacific Amateur on Kasumigaseki’s West Course to earn his first invitation to Augusta National. However, he has not played in an event since finishing T26 at the U.S. Open more than a month ago, but is still third at DraftKings with six percent of the money and four percent of the bets backing the Japanese star to win in his home country.
- Abraham Ancer (+2000) finished second at Quail Hollow, another Fazio design, earlier this year.
- South Korea will be represented by Sungjae Im (+2500) and Si Woo Kim (+5000), who will be exempt from military duty if they reach the podium. Both skipped The Open Championship to prepare for the Olympics. Im’s odds have shortened from +2800 and Kim’s from +5500 on Tuesday. They are the two most-backed players at PointsBet, where 7.3 percent of the bets have been placed on Kim and 7.1 percent on Im. Im has also been backed by 11.0 percent of the handle, making him the sportsbook’s second-biggest liability. Kim is third.
- The biggest liability is Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, who is being offered at +2000 by PointsBet. He has drawn just 5.0 percent of the bets at the sportsbook but a whopping 15.8 percent of the money.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)