GAO Golf Canada Pan Am Games

Pan Am Games golf event to set up sport’s return to Olympics

TORONTO— The 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games are quickly approaching with the opening ceremonies scheduled for July 10. Making it’s debut at the 2015 Pan Am Games will be golf, July 16-19 at Angus Glen Golf Club, south course. The debut of golf comes at a exciting time for the sport, as it will also be making it’s return to the Olympics after a 112-year hiatus in Rio in 2016.

The Pan Am competition will feature a men’s and women’s individual stroke-play competition, to be contested over four rounds (72 holes), along with a mixed team competition. Both the men’s and women’s fields will be made up of 32 competitors and will be open to both amateurs and professionals.

Nation’s may enter a maximum of two competitors per gender.  As the host nation, Canada automatically qualifies a full team of four athletes. All other athletes will qualify through the Official World Golf Ranking and Women’s World Golf Rankings (and if necessary) the World Amateur Golf Ranking as of April 28, 2015. All nations that qualify in the men’s and women’s singles events will also qualify for the mixed team event.

The course itself, Angus Glen, is one of Canada’s most prestigious courses that has hosted numerous noteworthy tournaments including a pair of Canadian Opens. Just last year, Angus Glen hosted the inaugural World Junior Girls Championship in preparing for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

The Pan Am competition will no doubt set the stage for the world’s best golfers to compete in Rio during the 2016 Olympics. Golf has previously been an event at the Olympics, in 1900 in Paris, France and in 1904 in St. Louis. Canadian George S. Lyon won the gold medal in 1904, so Canadian golfers will be looking to defend the gold in 2016.

Golf was attempted in both 1908 and 1920 but was not run due disputes or lack of interest. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) then mandated that a sport be participated in at least 40 countries to have Olympic eligibility. It was only until the 212th IOC Session in 2009 that IOC members voted to reinstate golf for 2016.

The tournament for the Olympics, much like the Pan-Am games will be stroke play for both men and women over 72 holes. In the event of ties, playoffs will be used to determine medal winners. In both the men’s and women’s event, the top 15 world-ranked players will be eligible for the Olympic Games, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players will be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two available players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15 to a maximum number of 60 players in total in the competition. The field size will be larger at the Olympics with 60 participants on both the Men’s and Women’s side.

With both the debut of golf at the 2015 Pan Am Games and the return of golf to the Olympics it really is an exciting time for the sport. With some of the best golfers in the world in Toronto this summer, there is no better time to see the stars of our sport shine.