World No. 5 Watson heads men's field

LONDON • American Bubba Watson and Swede Henrik Stenson head an Olympic men's golf field that has been decimated by withdrawals but nonetheless contains a decent line-up of top players.

On the women's side, an almost full-strength line-up includes world No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand and No. 2 Brooke Henderson of Canada. They are joined by a powerful South Korean team of Park In Bee, Kim Sei Young, Chun In Gee and Amy Yang.

The qualification period for Rio, based on the world rankings, ended on Monday and the International Golf Federation (IGF) then submitted the 60 male and 60 female qualifiers to their various national Olympic bodies for official ratification. The official teams will be announced next Monday. Few if any changes are expected.

British golfer Justin Rose yesterday explained his decision to compete, saying: "I think the Zika risk is going to be one of those things that we look back at and think it's a non-event, hopefully.

"You're going to get down there and you're probably not going to see a mosquito in sight. But, at the same time, no one can stand there and categorically tell you you're going to be okay, and that's the problem."

The men's field will include eight of the current top 15 led by Watson (No. 5), Stenson (No. 6), Masters champion Danny Willett (No. 9, Britain) and Spaniard Sergio Garcia (No. 12). It will also have Siddikur Rahman - the first Bangladeshi to directly qualify for the Olympics - after he finished 56th in the IGF rankings list.

Singapore's Mardan Mamat had been in contention for a spot but played poorly since the start of the year. His ranking has plummeted more than 100 places and he will not compete in Brazil.

He said: "It's disappointing but my focus is on doing well in my other tournaments this year."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'World No. 5 Watson heads men's field'. Print Edition | Subscribe