IOC sets deadline for decision on Olympics (and what it means for golf)

March 22, 2020

The Official World Golf Ranking has paused with the majority of pro golf tours on a hiatus due to the coronavirus, which also means the qualifying process for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has stopped as well. But will there even be an Olympics for those golfers? We should find out soon.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach penned a letter on Sunday saying the IOC has no plans to cancel the Games, but is exploring alternate options to hold the event, including postponement. A decision will be made in the next month, he says.

“Our basis of information today is that a final decision about the date of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 now would still be premature,” Bach said. “Cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody. Therefore it is not on our agenda.”

Criticism from athletes and governing bodies over the spreading coronavirus has added pressure to the IOC to either postpone or cancel the Games. Bach explained the difficulty in making such a decision prematurely, specially due to all the federations and committees the IOC has to work with and the massive scale of infrastructure needed to host, not including accommodating staff, athletes, families, media, fans and more.

“Together with all the stakeholders, we have started detailed discussions today to complete our assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including a scenario of postponement,” he said. “We are working very hard, and we are confident that we will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks.”

The four American men currently qualified for the Olympics are Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed, although Johnson has previously said he’d skip the Games. That means Patrick Cantlay would take his spot based on the current ranking. Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson would be the U.S. women to qualify at this time. Men’s qualifying ends on June 22, and women’s qualifying ends on June 29. Although if there aren’t any golf events played before then and the OWGR remains frozen (and if the qualifying period doesn’t change), this ranking won’t look any different.

The Olympics is scheduled to begin on July 24 in Tokyo with the men’s golf competition July 30-Aug. 2 and the women’s Aug. 5-8 at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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