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Olympics-Scheffler heads star-studded U.S. quartet for Paris golf

By Thomson Reuters Jun 18, 2024 | 8:45 AM

By Gus Trompiz

PARIS (Reuters) – World number one Scottie Scheffler will lead a heavyweight U.S. presence at the men’s 2024 Olympics golf in a quartet featuring defending champion Xander Schauffele and two-time major winner Collin Morikawa who squeezed through the qualifying race.

The United States was the only country to clinch the maximum possible four spots in the 60-strong list unveiled on Tuesday by the International Golf Federation for the men’s contest on Aug. 1-4 at Le Golf National, the venue south of Paris that hosted the Ryder Cup in 2018.

The U.S. contingent also includes Wyndham Clark, last year’s U.S. Open champion, but not Patrick Cantlay, whose tied-third finish on Sunday at this year’s U.S. Open was just short of the top-two position he needed to pip Morikawa in the world rankings used to establish the Olympics list.

The newly crowned 2024 U.S. Open winner, Bryson DeChambeau, missed out on the U.S. team too. That illustrates how the advent of the Saudi-backed LIV tour, on which DeChambeau plays but that yields no ranking points, influenced the race for Paris.

World number two Rory McIlroy leads the pack of non-U.S. contenders for Olympic glory, though the games were not on his mind on Monday as the Northern Irishman announced he was taking a few weeks off to digest his late collapse at the U.S. Open that prolonged his decade-long wait for a fifth major.

McIlroy, who represents Ireland, was close to a medal in Tokyo but came up short in a seven-way playoff for third place in which Morikawa also lost out.

Tokyo bronze medallist C.T. Pan of Taiwan will be back along with defending champion Schauffele. The 2021 runner-up, South African-born Rory Sabbatini who competed for Slovakia in Tokyo, will not be in Paris.

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, the top-ranked Asian player, will have another shot at an Olympic podium after leaving home fans disappointed in Tokyo when he ended tied-fourth.

France’s hopes of a medal on home soil have been boosted by a breakthrough year for Matthieu Pavon, whose fifth place at the U.S. Open lifted him to a career-high 20th in the world rankings.

Pavon will represent France alongside Victor Perez.

The qualification list for the women’s golf event in Paris, which takes place on Aug. 7-10, will be published next Tuesday.

Finalised lists of participants for both the men’s and women’s competitions will be released on July 2.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Toby Chopra)