In the Olympic Games no money is handed out to champions, but sporting excellence is recognized and the most personal stories are revered above all. For a week, golf seeks to be one more sport without neglecting its essence. Because in an environment where the most important thing is not the statistics but the life experiences, being on the green is like going back to the amateur days, in which you played thinking only about victory and the trophy, not about the bag of awards.
And if emotions were used to quantify the level of triumph, those expressed Xander Schauffele after winning the gold medal at Tokyo 2020 they would probably equal a great. “What I have experienced this week has been so special and unique that you cannot pay for it with money,” said the 27-year-old American, visibly moved.
“Really, being here is different from everything else. I really wanted to experience what other athletes experience when they get on the podium and they look very excited and even crying, “explained Schauffele who, while the world burned around him, continued to do his thing, tense, but patiently controlling each blow to prolong his love affair with this field. With -18 and a birdie in 17 he beat the Slovakian by a blow Rory Sabbatini, who signed the best card of the day at Casa Club with 61 strokes (-10).
The KasumigasekI Country Club lived up to expectations and presented a very well prepared course that put all facets of the game to the test. If one day it was bad from the tee, the turn could be very complicated, with very well cut and moved greens that rewarded good play. The bronze medal was decided in an exciting playoff tiebreaker between seven golfers tied at -15 and went to CT Pan from Taipei, who defeated North American Collin Morikawa in a final agonizing duel.
For their part, the Spanish representatives in Tokyo were far from the fight for the medals. Adri Arnaus finished with -6 in position 39 and Jorge Campillo had more problems and finished with +5, in position 59. Despite the final classification, the Catalan golfer was very satisfied with his performance, “it has been an experience very beautiful that will help me to continue progressing ”, he said. “I’m very happy especially with how I finished,” he added, referring to the eagle and the bogey who signed on the last two holes.
One of the most demanded corners these days in the Saitama KCC was the corridor that separates the Club House from the Putting Green, where huge Olympic rings in the form of a sculpture caused a sensation among golfers and were the object of desire of all the cameras. “When I see those earrings, it gives me goosebumps,” said Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, who lost in the bronze tiebreaker. “As a child, the protagonists of my dreams were trophies and green jackets. Participating in the Games was unthinkable and it is difficult for me to find the exact words to define what I have felt this week here. Without a doubt, it has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life ”, said McIlroy, who in his Olympic debut preferred to compete under the Irish flag to the detriment of the British one.
That the Games are something special is demonstrated by the good atmosphere that has reigned among golfers these days. “In the evenings we went to dinner together and shared impressions about the development of the tournament,” revealed the current British Open champion, Collin Morikawa. The North Americans behaved as if they were in a Ryder and even, they supported in a special way and shared their notes with Patrick Reed, who arrived at the last minute for the positive for covid-19 of Bryson DeChambeau and did not have time to recognize the field.
An appointment in which Jon Rahm was missed, who had to resign at the last minute after having tested positive for covid-19. The Basque golfer, who arrived at the best moment of his career and as number one in the world, was one of the favorites to fight for the gold for his career and for his claw when attacking the flags at decisive moments.