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2020 Olympics in Tokyo officially postponed to 2021

March 24, 2020

It’s official – the 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed to 2021. The move was announced Tuesday shortly after a meeting between IOC brass and Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe.

For now, the prospective timetable has been announced as “about a year” after the original schedule, which means we can hope to watch Olympic golf sometime around July of 2021. The move came after multiple nations asserted they would not be sending their athletes to Tokyo in 2020.

First to drop was Canada, and shortly after that Australia and Germany. Factions of the USA Olympic team (Swimming and Track and Field) said they would not send athletes either. The IOC originally announced it would take four weeks to determine an appropriate postponement date, but just days later the postponement was finalized.

For golf fans, that likely means a much different qualification period. For now, the qualifying system is reflective of the Official World Golf Ranking. Ranking points earned during a two-year period prior to the Olympics will determine the qualifiers. But right now the ranking is frozen in place.

Until professional golf regains its footing and can host events safely, that will remain the case. The PGA Tour is suspended through the middle of May, but that suspension could last much longer. The U.S. Open is currently on schedule for a June event at Winged Foot, but contingency plans are being put in place should that need to change.

What does it mean for golf? Well, as GOLF senior writer Alan Shipnuck noted, it gives an ailing Tiger Woods plenty of time to get his body right for a run at qualifying. Woods had been dealing with back stiffness during the weeks leading up to the Players Championship. Now, he presumably can restart that quest when most of the other contenders do. Woods is currently the 6th-ranked American in the Olympic qualifying rankings. It is likely that four (the max per country) Americans will qualify for Tokyo.

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