Recent major winners Henrik Stenson and Danny Willet among athletes who will represent their country at first Olympic golf competition in 112 years.
Recently-crowned Open champion Henrik Stenson and Masters title holder Danny Willett are on the list of 120 men and women confirmed by the International Golf Federation (IGF) for the sport's return to the Olympic Games next month. The players will represent their countries in the first battle for Olympic golf medals in 112 years, when the Rio 2016 tournaments are staged at the new Olympic Golf Course (men on 11-14 August, women on 17-20 August). Highlights in the women's tournament include world no.1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Brooke Henderson, winner of the PGA Championship, who will fly the flag of Canada.
Brazil's Victoria Loveday, who recorded a song about her desire to play at the Olympic Games in her home nation, will be delighted after she received an invitation, thanks to a reallocation of unused places.
Following his epic showdown with Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon, Stenson will represent Sweden as the Olympic no.2 ranked player, behind Bubba Watson who finished the two-year qualification process top of the pile. USA's Rickie Fowler enters as the no.3, followed by Willett and his Great Britain team-mate Justin Rose.
With 41 countries representing all five continents included in the start lists for the men’s and women's competitions, the first Olympic golf competition for 112 years will illustrate the sport's growing global popularity, and highlight what the IGF has called the 'Olympic effect'.
The announcement of the confirmed places in Rio de Janeiro comes at the end of the two-year qualification process to identify the full list of players eligible to be entered by their respective NOCs. The IGF has reallocated all unused quota places. As well as Lovelady, other women to receive an invitation include Ireland's Stephanie Meadow and Maha Haddioui of Morocco. On the men’s side, Italy’s Francesco Molinari and Camilo Villegas of Colombia declared themselves unavailable and their places have gone to Italy's Matteo Manassero and Jose-Filipe Lima of Portugal. Angelo Que of the Philippines also withdrew, with his place going to Rodolfo Cazaubon of Mexico.