Enough about Zika, golfers getting heckled, and Rickie Fowler’s, um, interesting haircut. Golf — actual golf — finally makes its return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence this week and now we have the tee times and pairings to look forward to.
The best groups for Thursday and Friday at Gil Hanse’s new Olympic Course in Rio? It’s tough to choose. There’s Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer and Anirban Lahiri, but there’s also Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose and Jhonattan Vegas.
Reigning Masters champ Danny Willett will play along Matt Kuchar and promising Chinese youngster Haotong Li. Reigning British Open champ Henrik Stenson (and odds-on favorite) is in a group with Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Thongchai Jaidee.
And then there’s the juicy pairing of Patrick Reed with Sergio Garcia and Emiliano Grillo. Could we see another crowd shushing situation?
Just a reminder, this is a 72-hole stroke-play tournament so these guys will all be re-paired after the second round based on the leader board. And there is no team aspect. Sorry, Kuchar.
Anyway, here’s the full list of tee times and pairings (All times ET):
8:30 a.m. Thursday, 10:25 a.m. Friday: Adilson da Silva (BRA), Graham DeLaet (CAN), Byeong-Hun An (KOR)
8:41 a.m. Thursday, 10:36 a.m. Friday: Padraig Harrington (IRL), Matteo Manassero (ITA), Danny Lee (NZL)
8:52 a.m. Thursday, 10:47 a.m. Friday: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Gavin Green (MAS), Thomas Pieters (BEL)
9:03 a.m. Thursday, 11:03 a.m. Friday: Julien Quesne (FRA), Marcus Fraser (AUS), Shingo Katayama (JPN)
9:14 a.m. Thursday, 11:14 a.m. Friday: Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), Jeunghun Wang (KOR), Espen Kofstad (NOR)
9:25 a.m. Thursday, 11:25 a.m. Friday: Felipe Aguilar (CHI), Danny Chia (MAS), Soren Kjeldsen (DEN)
9:41 a.m. Thursday, 11:36 a.m. Friday: Fabian Gomez (ARG), David Lingmerth (SWE), Jose Filipe Lima (POR)
9:52 a.m. Thursday, 11:47 a.m. Friday: Rodolfo Cazaubon (MEX), Bernd Wiesberger (AUT), Brandon Stone (RSA)
10:03 a.m. Thursday, 11:58 a.m. Friday: Danny Willett (GBR), Matt Kuchar (USA), Haotong Li (CHN)
10:14 a.m. Thursday, 12:09 p.m. Friday: Bubba Watson (USA), Martin Kaymer (GER), Anirban Lahiri (IND)
10:25 a.m. Thursday, 8:30 a.m. Friday: Jaco van Zyl (RSA), Mikko Ilonen (FIN), David Hearn (CAN)
10:36 a.m. Thursday, 8:41 a.m. Friday: Gregory Bourdy (FRA), Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR), C.T. Pan (TPE)
10:47 a.m. Thursday, 8:52 a.m. Friday: Yuta Ikeda (JPN), Roope Kakko (FIN), Miguel Tabuena (PHI)
11:03 a.m. Thursday, 9:03 a.m. Friday: Ashun Wu (CHN), Nino Bertasio (ITA), Scott Hend (AUS)
11:14 a.m. Thursday, 9:14 a.m. Friday: Joost Luiten (NED), Ricardo Gouveia (POR), Siddikur Rahman (BAN)
11:25 a.m. Thursday, 9:25 a.m. Friday: Sergio Garcia (ESP), Patrick Reed (USA), Emiliano Grillo (ARG)
11:36 a.m. Thursday, 9:41 a.m. Friday: Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Alex Cejka (GER), Ryan Fox (NZL)
11:47 a.m. Thursday, 9:52 a.m. Friday: S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND), Seamus Power (IRL), Wen-Tang Lin (TPE)
11:58 a.m. Thursday, 10:03 a.m. Friday: Rickie Fowler (USA), Justin Rose (GBR), Jhonattan Vegas (VEN)
12:09 p.m. Thursday, 10:14 a.m. Friday: Henrik Stenson (SWE), Thongchai Jaidee (THA), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP)
WHEN IS IT?
The men’s event is Aug. 11-14, and the women’s event is Aug. 17-20. Both will be played on the newly constructed Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro.
WHAT’S THE FORMAT?
Seventy-two holes of individual stroke play with no cut. There’s no team element. Essentially, it’s like a World Golf Championships event. One difference, however, is the possibility of playoffs to determine gold, silver and bronze medals.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Besides national pride and everlasting glory, the gold medalists will receive exemptions into professional majors: four tournaments for the men’s winner in 2017 and five for the women (the Evian Championship in 2016 and four majors in 2017).
HOW CAN I WATCH?
Tickets are available or as low as R50 (or about $14!). Or you can watch on TV: Golf Channel will air more than 130 hours of coverage.
MEN’S TV TIMES (ET) Aug. 11-13, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Aug. 14, final round, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WOMEN’S TV TIMES (ET) Aug. 17-19, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Aug. 20, final round, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
SOURCE: GOLF DIGEST