Major champions Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen joined Masters and U.S. Open winner Dustin Johnson in declining playing spots in the men’s golf competition in next month’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The field of 60 was finalized Tuesday; the replacement list was also determined.
The men’s competition will be held July 29-August 1 at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Japan. The women’s competition is August 4-7 at the same locale.
Representing the U.S. will be Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau. Johnson said in March he would not be playing if he earned one of the USA’s four spots. Patrick Cantlay is the team’s first reserve.
“I’m going. I’m so excited. It’s going to be one of the best things of my life,” 2020 PGA champion Morikawa said after tying for fourth in the U.S. Open last Sunday. “To think back that I was an amateur two years ago, literally two years ago, and to be on this team and to be heading to Tokyo puts a smile on my face.”
Garcia, who played in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and tied for eighth, will not join world No. 1 and newly minted U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm in playing for Spain.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I love the Olympic Games, but my first priority (is) to represent Spain on the international stage in the Ryder Cup. My number one goal is to identify in the European team without having to wait for hopeful invitations. Representing Spain in the Olympic Games is an honor and an enormous responsibility that requires 100% of your mental effort,” Garcia said in a message he posted on social media.
He will be replaced on the team by Rafa Cabrera Bello, who tied for fifth in Rio.
South African and 2010 Open championship winner Oosthuizen, who finished runner-up in the U.S. Open, was replaced by Christiaan Bezuidenhout. Germany’s two-time major champion Kaymer was replaced by Hurly Long.
2/2 in the States, in addition to honoring family commitments with the new life we are building at the farm. Family has always been my core and this is the best decision for us at this time in our lives. My best are with the South Africans competing. We will be cheering you on!
— Louis Oosthuizen (@Louis57TM) June 22, 2021
Also deciding not to play were England’s Tyrrell Hatton, ranked No. 11 in the world, Matthew Fitzpatrick, ranked No. 21, and Lee Westwood, ranked No. 27. England will be represented by No. 20 Paul Casey and No. 33 Tommy Fleetwood.
The field was restricted to the top 60 in the OWGR. The world’s top 15 players would be eligible, with a country limited to four players. After that, players will be eligible based on the world ranking, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.
The medal winners from the Rio Olympics did not qualify – England’s Justin Rose (gold medal), Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (silver) and USA’s Matt Kuchar (bronze).