Schauffele secures gold, seven-man playoff & hatless Rory

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PGA TOUR 01 August, 2021 - 09:23pm 18 views

Who won the Olympic gold medal in golf 2021?

Round Recaps Xander Schauffele takes gold at the Olympics In the final round of the 2021 Olympic Men's Golf Competition, Xander Schauffele carded a 4-under 67 to get to 18-under for the tournament, one clear of the field to claim the gold medal for the United States. pgatour.comAfter Xander Schaufffele wins gold, other medals decided in unexpected ways

Who medaled in Olympic golf?

TOKYO -- Xander Schauffele held on to win the fourth-ever men's Olympic golf event with a final round 4-under 67 at hot and steamy Kasumigaeski Country Club on the outskirts of Tokyo on Sunday. It was Schauffele's first win anywhere in the world since the 2019 Tournament of Champions on Maui. Sports IllustratedXander Schauffele Hangs On to Win First U.S. Gold Medal in Men's Olympic Golf Since 1900

How did CT PAN win bronze?

He impressively blasted out his third shot on the green, but couldn't convert a long par try. And when Pan chipped his third to eight feet, then rolled in his putt, the 29-year-old former winner at the RBC Heritage had his medal. ... C.T. Pan holds his bronze medal at the awards ceremony. GolfDigest.comC.T. Pan emerges as a happy, but surprised, winner of a seven-man playoff for the bronze

Was there a playoff for bronze in golf?

After the players finished 72 holes in the Olympic men's golf tournament, there was a bizarre seven-man playoff—all for the bronze-medal spot on the podium, just below the 204th-ranked player in the world. ... Then seven players returned to the course to play for bronze. That's how Chinese Taipei's C.T. The Wall Street JournalThe Crazy Seven-Man Playoff for an Olympic Bronze Medal in Golf

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Belarus sprinter "safe" in Japan after removal from Olympics: IOC

Kyodo News Plus 02 August, 2021 - 03:02pm

A Belarusian sprinter who refused to board a flight home after saying her team forced her out of the Tokyo Olympics is "safe and secure" in Japan, the International Olympic Committee said Monday.

"I've been put under pressure, and they are trying to take me out of the country without my consent," Krystsina Tsimanouskaya had said in a video posted on social media the previous day.

The IOC is seeking clarification on the incident from the Belarusian National Olympic Committee, spokesman Mark Adams told a press briefing.

Separately, Japan's top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said the sprinter, who sought protection from police at Tokyo's Haneda airport, is in a "safe situation with the cooperation of related organizations," and they are working to confirm her intentions.

Tsimanouskaya had complained via social media that her coach entered her in the 4x400 relay despite not training for the event. The 24-year-old ran in the 100 meters and was listed for the 200-meter heats on Monday but did not compete.

The Belarusian National Olympic Committee is headed by Viktor Lukashenko, son of the country's president Alexander Lukashenko.

Both have been banned from attending the Tokyo Olympics amid allegations that the national committee discriminated against athletes who took part in protests against the president's controversial re-election.

"I'm afraid that in Belarus I may be imprisoned. I'm not afraid of being fired or kicked out of the national team. I worry about my safety," the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, a group that supports athletes persecuted for their political views, quoted Tsimanouskaya as saying.

She plans to seek asylum in Europe, the group said.

Adams said Tsimanouskaya spent the night at a hotel near the airport and was in touch with local police as well as the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

"The IOC and Tokyo 2020 will continue to have conversations with her and the Japanese authorities to determine the next step in the upcoming days," Adams said.

"We're talking again to her this morning to understand what those next steps could be, what she wants to pursue, and we will give her support in that decision," he said.

Several European countries offered to assist Tsimanouskaya, with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa tweeting that she is "welcome" in his country.

"The Czech Republic is ready to help," Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek said on Twitter, calling the incident "scandalous" and offering to issue her a visa and provide help through the Czech Embassy in Tokyo.

Polish Foreign Ministry official Marcin Przydacz also tweeted that his country is prepared to give her a visa, saying she is "free to pursue her sporting career in Poland if she so chooses."

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Schauffele shares golden triumph with swing coach father

msnNOW 02 August, 2021 - 01:20am

KAWAGOE, Japan (Reuters) - Xander Schauffele's triumph at the Tokyo golf on Sunday was especially emotional for his swing coach father Stefan, whose own Olympic dreams were crushed nearly 40 years ago.

Stefan Schauffele had hoped to represent Germany in track and field but a car crash left him blind in one eye, a blow that took him years to get over.

Decades later, his son qualified for Tokyo and the pair flew out together to share the Olympic moment.

On Sunday, Xander won the gold with a tense one-stroke victory over Slovakia's silver-winning Rory Sabbatini at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

"This is going to take a while to settle in," said Stefan, joking that he needed a towel to hide his tears.

"I got choked up. I describe today as definitely needing a towel moment. I am very, very proud.

"This is a meaningful (win). It's the most meaningful one so far, just below the majors if you will. It's a great achievement."

Xander became the second United States golfer to win Olympic gold in the men's event, following Charles Sands in Paris in 1900. Golf returned to the Olympics in Rio in 2016 after a long hiatus.

Some of his father's swing lessons may have fallen by the wayside as the 27-year-old Californian struggled off the tee in a nervous back nine.

But he struck a sweet iron shot to four feet from the 18th pin to make sure of the gold.

"For me, I really wanted to win for my dad. I am sure he is crying somewhere right now. I kind of wanted this one more than any other," said Xander, who has relatives in Japan from his Taiwanese mother's side.

"First up, you are trying to represent your country to the best of your ability and then you add family stuff on top of that."

(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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Schauffele wins gold in men's golf at Olympics | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

NHK WORLD 01 August, 2021 - 06:03am

Xander Schauffele of the United States has won the Olympic gold in men's golf, finishing the tournament at 18 under par to claim a one-stroke victory.

The 27-year-old finished just ahead of Slovakia's Rory Sabbatini, calmly sinking a putt on the last hole to secure the win. The victory is the first Olympic individual golf gold for the US since 1900.

Further down the leaderboard, seven players faced off in a playoff for bronze. Taiwan's Pan Cheng-tsung finished ahead of a crowded field that included Ireland's four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and Japan's Matsuyama Hideki.

Matsuyama won this year's Masters and was competing for the first time since recovering from the coronavirus. He said he was disappointed by the result and felt "nothing but regret" at missing out on the podium.

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Schauffele wins gold in men's golf at Olympics | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

The Japan Times 01 August, 2021 - 06:03am

Xander Schauffele of the United States has won the Olympic gold in men's golf, finishing the tournament at 18 under par to claim a one-stroke victory.

The 27-year-old finished just ahead of Slovakia's Rory Sabbatini, calmly sinking a putt on the last hole to secure the win. The victory is the first Olympic individual golf gold for the US since 1900.

Further down the leaderboard, seven players faced off in a playoff for bronze. Taiwan's Pan Cheng-tsung finished ahead of a crowded field that included Ireland's four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and Japan's Matsuyama Hideki.

Matsuyama won this year's Masters and was competing for the first time since recovering from the coronavirus. He said he was disappointed by the result and felt "nothing but regret" at missing out on the podium.

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Schauffele with 2 clutch putts gives U.S. golf gold

ESPN 01 August, 2021 - 05:04am

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KAWAGOE, Japan -- Four feet between his golf ball and the cup was all that separated American Xander Schauffele from an Olympic gold medal, and he couldn't help but let his mind wander.

For Schauffele, it would be as special as a major, the championships that have eluded him far too many times, most recently at the Masters. For his father, an Olympic medal to share after his own aspirations ended in a horrific car accident that cost him his left eye.

Schauffele bowed his head and closed his eyes to snap back into the present.

"I just reminded myself, this is just a 4-footer," he said Sunday. "All you have to do is make it. No big deal."

He made it. It was a big deal.

With more pressure than he needed, Schauffele got the prize he wanted in a conclusion to men's golf so wild that nine players were still in the mix for a medal as the last three players measured their putts on the 18th green.

The putt that mattered most belonged to Schauffele, who had to lay up short of the water and rely on a wedge and a putt for par and a 4-under 67.

"I maybe put more pressure on myself wanting to go win this more than anything else," he said. "And with my dad, he dedicated a big chunk of his life for quite some time to obtaining a medal, and that was taken away from him. ... It was more than just golf for me. And I'm just really, really happy and fortunate to be sitting here."

Rory Sabbatini set an Olympic record with a 61 -- with two bogeys on his card -- that nearly was good enough for a sudden-death playoff for the gold. He was more than happy to win the silver medal for Slovakia.

The bronze? Well, that was complicated.

Hideki Matsuyama's dream of adding gold to a Masters green jacket ended when he missed too many putts along the back nine at Kasumigaseki Country Club. He still had a 12-foot birdie putt for the bronze on the final hole. He missed that, too, putting him in a seven-man playoff among players from seven countries for the final medal.

Matsuyama was eliminated on the first extra hole, along with Paul Casey, with a bogey.

Less than a month removed from recovering from COVID-19, the Japanese star was 1 shot out of the lead with four holes to play, and wound up without a medal.

No gold, silver or bronze. He still has a green jacket.

Rory McIlroy, Mito Pereira and Sebastian Munoz were bounced on the third playoff hole with pars. That left C.T. Pan and The Open champion Collin Morikawa, who both shot 63, and Pan won with an 8-foot par.

Stefan Schauffele watched the medal ceremony from off the 18th green, tears behind dark sunglasses as his son put the medal around his neck.

The father was 20 when he was invited to train with Germany's national team as a decathlete. He was hit by a drunken driver, a crash that left him blind in one eye and no longer able to compete in the sports he loved.

He eventually found golf, which he passed on to his son.

"Because of what happened to me, I promised myself I will make sure my kids will find out how good they are at whatever they're trying to do. In this case, it was golf," the father said. "That was fueled by the fact I never found out how good I was."

Schauffele, whose mother was raised in Japan and has grandparents in the city who were kept from watching him under the ban on spectators, appeared to have this won all along.

Sabbatini finished with a fist-pumping birdie on the 18th hole. That put him 1 shot behind Schauffele, who still had six holes remaining and two good scoring chances.

And then one swing changed everything.

Schauffele sent his tee shot well right of the fairway on the par-5 14th and into the bushes. He had to take a 1-stroke penalty just to get out, took 3 more shots to reach the green and made a 5-foot putt for bogey.

He was tied for the lead, with Matsuyama 1 shot behind.

Schauffele kept his California cool and delivered two clutch putts at the end.

"I was trying so hard to just stay calm," Schauffele said. "But man, it was stressful. And I made that putt and it was just a huge weight lifted off my shoulders."

Sabbatini had plenty to be happy about with silver. Born in South Africa, he decided at the end of 2018 to become a Slovakian citizen through his wife, Martina, who had a relative running the tiny Slovak Golf Federation. His wife caddied for him this week.

That made him eligible for the Olympics, and now Slovakia has its third medal in the Tokyo Games. It has a gold in women's trap and a silver in men's kayak. Sabbatini is the first Slovakian to compete in Olympic golf.

"The sole purpose of it was to generate future generations of Slovak golfers," Sabbatini said. "It's not exactly the prime sport for kids to grow up and want to go play in Slovakia, so hopefully we can inspire future Olympians."

American Xander Schauffele wins Olympic men's golf tournament, fulfilling his father's dream

USA TODAY 01 August, 2021 - 02:14am

American Xander Schauffele edged Slovakia's Rory Sabbatini by one stroke to win the Olympic men's golf tournament.

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Sunday had historic medals for America in golf and diving. Monday features gymnastics event finals, women's 100m hurdles and wrestling medals. USA TODAY

KAWAGOE, Japan — The dreams of the father were fulfilled in the land of the mother’s family. All Xander Schauffele had to do was win a gold medal to make the story feel like a Hollywood script.

Schauffele, 27, has finished in the top 10 of all four majors – six times in the top five – without a victory. On Sunday, he became the men’s Olympic champion with a final-round 4-under-par 67, nearly four decades after an accident dashed the athletic hopes of his father – also Schauffle's lifelong swing coach.

Stefan Schauffele was a French-German decathlete in Germany who dreamed of competing in the Games. At age 20, a drunk driver hit him and, in one fell swoop, he lost the vision in his left eye and those Olympic aspirations.

Ping-Yi Chen was born in Taiwan and raised in Japan since age 4. She attended college in San Diego, where she met the elder Schauffele and where Xander Schauffele was born.

“I maybe put more pressure on myself, wanting to win this more than anything else for quite some time,” Schauffele said. “My dad aspired to have one of these at some point in his life. He dedicated a big chunk of his life to obtain a medal. That was taken away from him. My ties here … there’s just all these things that motivate me to do better, to be better. It’s more than just golf for me.”

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Sometimes a storm brews inside him, Schauffele said, opposite the calm he normally displays. Tranquility became necessary on Hole 14 when his drive, so consistent over four days until the final holes, flew out of bounds to the right. Given a club-length of relief, he still tangled with a shrub on his downswing, yet struck the ball well enough to ultimately bogey. After the round, he said he completely missed the gap he was aiming for on that second shot, but the ball somehow made it through the trees.

“Here’s the thing,” Schauffele stated. “When you’re trying to win a golf tournament, you need things to go your way.”

Unbeknownst to him, eventual silver-medalist Rory Sabbatini (Slovakia) had caught him at 17-under, and he only realized it while glancing at a video board near the 16th tee.

“That was a bit of a wake-up call,” Schauffele said. “Thank goodness there was a board there.”

At 17, Schauffele found himself in more trouble, this time when a drive landed in a sand trap. But a cheeky approach set up a six-foot birdie putt, and he sank it to take the lead. A par save on 18, after another drive missed the fairway but bailed out by a dynamite approach shot, sealed a one-stroke victory over Sabbatini, who fired a tournament-low (and Olympic record) 61 on Sunday.

CT Pan of Chinese Tapei bested Collin Morikawa on the fourth hole of a seven-player playoff for bronze, depriving the U.S. of sending two of its four golfers to the podium. 

Schauffele stormed to the lead Friday afternoon with a furious finish to sit 8-under after Round 2. And he never looked back. He was the most consistent golfer for four days, entering Sunday with a 68, 63 and 68 on his scorecard. 

The fifth-ranked golfer in the world hadn’t won a tournament since January 2019. He refused to be satisfied by high finishes. The losing ate at him.

“I just play to be competitive and I want to beat everyone,” he said.

Three birdies in the first five holes — two straight to start his final round — paved the way for him to play mostly par golf throughout the afternoon. 

“It was a roller-coaster day for me, especially on that back nine coming in,” Schauffele said. “Just happy that I could fall back on my game coming through.”

Crows cawed and cicadas sizzled as the sun scorched Kasumigaseki Country Club, about 75 minutes northwest of Tokyo. A large contingent of volunteers, media and officials trailed the final group, as Japan native Hideki Matsuyama played alongside Schauffele and Paul Casey (Great Britain) to provide the feel of a true final. 

Being at the top of a leaderboard for multiple days presented an unusual challenge for Schauffele. He leaned on one advantage he held over his primary competitors, other than Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion: Japan.

“You open a suitcase, and you can always tell where it came from,” said Schauffele, well-traveled in five years on the PGA Tour.

He remembered his grandparents visiting San Diego when he was a child.

“It always smelled like Japan. I don’t know how to describe it,” he said. “Coming here, I really appreciate the culture and how kind and respectful everyone is. So there was a level of comfort for me.”

Sabbatini later admitted he had one of the worst warm-ups in his career Sunday. The 10-under, which included two bogeys, surprised him more than anybody else.

“I thought I was so far out, I didn’t have any expectations,” he said.

Sabbatini’s wife is Slovakian, and her cousin was vice president of the Slovakian Golf Federation (he is now the president). Born in South Africa but holding multiple passports, the 45-year-old became a Slovakian citizen in 2019. Golf is not popular in his wife’s native country, Sabbatini said.

“We looked at it as a great way to use it as a springboard to create more interest in the game of golf in Slovakia,” he said, adding that he felt immense pride in seeing the Slovakian flag raised. 

Pan shot a 74 in Round 1, tied for the third-worst score of the day.

“I remember I texted one of my good friends, saying, ‘The struggle is real,’” Pan said. “Overall, that was a very happy ending.”

Sabbatini (ranked No. 204 in the world) and Pan (208th) played in the same group Sunday, with both of their wives serving as their caddies during the tournament. At a Games deprived of celebratory hugs with family, all three medal-winners enjoyed wrapping their arms around loved ones.

“I can’t really say what we said to each other, just from a standpoint of swearing. But it was a nice embrace," Schauffele said. "I did think of him as soon as I made the putt. I knew he was going to be there, crying. Luckily, he had shades on. This whole experience has been really special. Having him here is even better.”

The tears kept flowing for Stefan Schauffele throughout the evening. He leaned against a tree off the right side of the 18th green and looked on as his son received the gold medal. He watched as Xander turned to face the American flag flying in a dusk sky as the "The Star-Spangled Banner" played.

Xander Schauffele noted that he is the only natural-born citizen in his family, then discussed pride in representing one's country at the Olympics.

“I think me being very international has taught me a lot about different cultures," the former San Diego State Aztec began. "It’s made me very understanding of different cultures. I think that if everyone sort of had the ability to travel more and experience more cultures, they’d be more willing to get along, potentially.”

As Schauffele took his seat at a different podium, this time to meet with the media following the medal ceremony, his father took a seat directly in front of him, two rows back. The son lifted the medal and smiled, as if to say it was theirs – no words necessary.

“As a mentor, you sort of feed your personal examples to give to someone,” he said. “His were all Olympic-related. He put all of his eggs in one basket.”

Together, they hatched a gold medal.

“For this to come full-circle at a pretty young age,” Xander Schauffele said, “I just feel very fortunate and really happy to share this with him.”

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