Golf is back at the Olympics this year for just the second time since 1904. Justin Rose of Great Britain triumphed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to win the gold medal, as Sweden’s Henrik Stenson took home silver and America’s Matt Kuchar grabbed bronze.
The United States is looking to upgrade to gold this time around, and the country is in a great position to do so with a stacked roster set to compete in the games. So, who will be repping the red, white, and blue at the Tokyo Olympics this week?
It’s hard to imagine a golfer you’d want representing your country right now more than Collin Morikawa. The 24-year-old just won his second major championship in eight tries at the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, and he showed incredible poise beyond his years down the stretch to close it out.
Morikawa is inarguably the best iron player in the world, which puts him in contention on the PGA Tour each and every week as long as his putter cooperates. Get this: Morikawa is averaging 1.50 strokes gained: approach per round this year. No one else on Tour is averaging better than .907. The young superstar has gained a total of 78.12 strokes on approach in 52 competitive rounds this season. There’s only one other player who’s gained more than 60.
Morikawa is on a Tiger Woods-like trajectory early on in his impressive career, and he enters the Olympics as the favorite to win at +700.
Right behind Morikawa on the odds board is fellow American, Xander Schauffele, at +900. And he absolutely deserves to be.
In 18 PGA Tour events played this season, Schauffele has recorded seven top-10 finishes and three runner-ups. He had a chance to win his first major at the Masters back in April, but a final-round water ball on 16 pushed him out of contention.
Still, Schauffele ranks third on Tour in total strokes gained this season. He’s as well-rounded a player as you’ll find anywhere in the world, and he’s been a consistent factor at the top of leaderboards for the last few years now. He should be in the mix come the final round this week in Tokyo.
Now here’s a guy who will be easy to root for in Tokyo this week.
Justin Thomas will also be making his Olympic Games debut for Team USA. The 28-year-old won the Players Championship earlier this season, and he’s notched five top-10 finishes in 19 starts.
Thomas enters the tournament as the winningest American on the squad with 14 career PGA Tour victories. He’s recorded at least one win in each of the last six seasons on Tour, and he’s lethal whenever his putter heats up.
The World No. 4 isn’t heading to Tokyo in the best form, as he hasn’t finished inside the top 10 since his Players victory in March, but he can still obliterate a world-class field when he’s on his A game.
Thomas enters the Olympics with the third-best odds to win at +1000. That’s right, the Americans represent the top three favorites to win the event this year. The gold will be theirs to lose.
Patrick Reed was a late addition to Team USA’s golf roster this year. World No. 6 Bryson DeChambeau was originally scheduled to be the fourth member of the team, but a positive COVID-19 test knocked him out of the competition. Reed will be taking his place in Tokyo.
Reed might not be the most beloved player on Tour, but he’s a fierce competitor who plays his best golf when the stakes are highest. Throughout his stellar Ryder Cup career, “Captain America” owns a 7-3-2 record for the United States. He’s also a nine-time winner on Tour and has a green jacket in his closet.
You might not love to root for him every week, but Reed is a perfect replacement on Team USA and a real threat to medal this year. He heads to Tokyo with +1800 odds to win the tournament.
All stats courtesy of PGA Tour