Each night during the Olympics, writers, producers and editors from the Sports Illustrated Golf Group give their opinions on the hot topic of the day from Rio. Agree with our takes? Disagree? Tweet us your thoughts at @golf_com.
Who wins Olympic gold on Sunday and why?
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I like Stenson. It’s blown hard all week in Rio, but he hits it so flush the wind seems to affect him less. Rose is playing beautifully, but he hasn’t won all year and hasn’t contended all summer. The Stense has been there, done that and will, I think, be more freed-up to snatch gold.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: For the reasons Alan (Shipnuck) likes Henrik, I like Rose for gold: the single most meaningful thing to golf in the wind is the purity of strike, and nobody is catching it on the face better than Rose this week. Plus, he has a much greater repertoire of low shots than Stenson. Also, he has a one-shot lead. He’s one closer to the winning score than anybody else, which is nice. (For Great Britain.) I feel sorry for the players who did not go. This is very interesting golf. Your Sunday afternoon anthems: ‘God Save the Queen’ (evidently He’s doing a good job as she is 90); ‘Thou ancient, Thou free’ (Sweden’s national anthem); ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ (accompanied by Bubba’s crying).
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Justin Rose, mainly because he was my pre-tourney pick and not for more valid reasons, like how he’s playing.
Sean Zak, assistant editor, GOLF.com: Gotta go with Stenson. Feels like he has been just plodding along, ball striking as well as he always does, and is just one shot back. His worst round of the week was today, and it ended with a score of 68. I’d imagine he makes 68 (or better) again tomorrow.
Alan Bastable, executive editor, GOLF.com: Rose has a nice mojo going: the ace on Thursday, the ring-around-the-Rosey hole-out for eagle on the 3rd hole Saturday, followed by a birdie bomb at the 5th. Things are going his way — well, other than that god-awful shirt. Chalk up another gold for the Union Jack.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: This is the British Open all over again. When the wind blows, take the guy with the most piercing ball flight. Stenson wins, but as was the case with Phil at Royal Troon, Rose will make him earn it.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I agree with Godich. Stenson is in the habit of winning. He gets it done Sunday. Although based on Rickie Fowler’s round progression (75-71-64), I expect him to shoot a final-round 56 or 57 and surge into bronze medal contention.
Jessica Marksbury, digital editor, GOLF.com: I’m sticking with Justin. He’s been consistent all week, and while I think it will be a great duel with Stenson, I’m not going to bet against the guy who had two eagles Saturday and the first hole in one in Olympic history on Thursday.
Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine: Rose. Poetic justice for a guy who has been a consistent and outspoken advocate for Olympic golf from the start. Plus, he’s due for another big win.
Jeff Ritter, digital development editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Group: Stenson may be 1-for-1 in epic head-to-heads this summer, but given all of Rose’s astonishing shots this week, it feels like gold might be his destiny. Olympic golf could use a dramatic finish. I’ll take Rose in a playoff.
“I would have loved to finish two or three shots stronger today,” he said. “I couldn’t make any more birdies. So every day, I left two or three out there, which hurts in the end. They all add up. But I’m still not very far behind. So if I play a flawless round, I might still have a chance.”