Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy will be going in search of Olympic gold in Tokyo. (Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan)
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Shane Lowry and Rory Mcilroy come into this year’s Olympics in largely good form after the Open Championship.
The two have taken over the mantel for team Ireland from Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power after Rio in 2016.
2021 will mark the third time golf has been in the Olympics, once in 1904 and the second in 2016.
However, the question remains for team Ireland either of the two bring home gold in Tokyo?
How are they feeling ahead of the Olympics?
Shane Lowry comes to the Olympic village in high spirits despite failing to defend the Open last week.
A rocky start ultimately did the damage as he handed over the Claret jug to Americas Collin Morikawa.
The Irishman did grind out three excellent rounds of golf to finish in an admirable 12 th position.
He is now 100% focused on the task at hand as he looks to make his Olympics debut this summer in Tokyo.
“I’m going with one goal and that’s to bring a medal back to Ireland,” he says.
“I’m not going there on my holidays. I’m going there to win a medal.”
While Lowry is excited, fellow teammate McIlroy could not be more deflated after a disappointing weekend.
His work with coach Michael Bannon continues as he sees this Olympics as an opportunity to improve his golf rather than patriotic duty.
"I don't know if there is much to look forward to,” says McIlroy.
"I am looking forward to getting another week's golf in and trying to get my game in shape.
"For me at the minute it's just the process of trying to work my way back to the sort of form and the sort of the level that I know I can play at.
"There are a lot of birdies in there but a lot of bogeys, too. I've made 17 birdies this week, which is more than enough to challenge to win this golf tournament.
"I'm not a very patriotic guy, I'm doing it because I think it is the right thing to do.”
Which country has the strongest team?
The Americans are looking like the strongest team with all their talent inside the top 10 in the world rankings.
These include major winners Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas, recent Open Champion Colin Morikawa, and tour sensation Xander Schauffele.
Their team could have perhaps been even stronger had it not been for some absentees.
Due to Tokyo rising covid cases some of the world’s best players such as Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Sergio Garcia have opted out.
Other notable teams include
Spain: Jon Rahm, Rafa Cabrera Bello, G reat Britain: Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Australia: Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Italy: Guido Migliozzi, Francesco Molinari, Belgium: Thomas Detry, Thomas Pieters
(Image: Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)
What is the format of golf at the Olympics?
Both men’s and women’s individual events will take place across four rounds of 72 holes. The format will be a strokes, but with a twist.
Unlike most professional tours there will be no cut mark with all players able to compete across all four days.
Tee times will be determined by how high or low on the players rank on the leaderboard.
If they are at the bottom of the leaderboard they will tee off first and if they are in a medal position, they tee off last.
In the event of players tied for the lead, there will be a three hole play off followed by sudden death.
How can I watch it?
For viewers in Ireland, RTE will be showing comprehensive coverage across all platforms, so you won’t miss a thing.
Sports fans can listen via RTE Radio 1 or watch on RTE 2 television along with live streaming on RTE player.
RTE will begin its live coverage of the Olympics from July 23 rd from 11:30 am, beginning with the opening ceremony.
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