Amidst all of the standard Olympic hype about gymnastics, swimming and track, there’s one event we’re particularly excited for: Golf. It’s taken 112 years for it to become an Olympic sport again, and this year men and women will be competing individually on a brand new Olympic Golf Course in Rio.
The two times that golf has been part of the Summer Olympics were in Paris in 1900 and St. Louis in 1904, both of which were dominated by the United States. Of the total 12 gold medals given, 9 went to athletes from the U.S and all eyes will be on the team this year to bring that medal count up even higher.
Here are three things you need to know about golf this year at the 2016 Summer Olympics:
1. THE HISTORY
Although the first modern Olympics were held in 1886, it wasn’t until the 1900 Paris Olympics that golf was listed as one of the 75 events. The men played two rounds of 18 holes and women played a single 9-hole game. In 1900, golfer Margaret Abbott became the first American Woman to win an Olympic gold medal (in any sport) with a score of 47. Interesting side note, Margaret’s mother also competed as a golfer in the 1900 Olympics, and took 7th place. Golf was discontinued after the 1904 games as there weren’t enough players for a competitive field. The 1904 Olympics held 77 golfers, 74 of which were American and the remaining 3 Canadian. Oh how golf has changed! This year there will be 60 golfers, with a max of four golfers per country.
2. THE GAME
This year, the Golf event will be scored in a circuit of 72-holes (4 rounds of 18 holes). The Olympian who finishes this circuit with the lowest number of shots will win gold. Although spectators must stay silent during shots taken, they will be able to walk through the course, following the competition and golfers.
3. THE (NON) PLAYERS
While the controversy over the Zika virus rages on, there are a number of athletes who have withdrawn from the Olympics this year, including Jason Day of Australia, Rory McIllroy of Northern Ireland and Adam Scott of Australia. The only American golfer to drop out thus far has been Dustin Johnson, but there is high speculation that more of them will.