Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2021 Tokyo Olympics Men’s Golf Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one-and-done strategy for the event from Kasumigaseki Country Club.
2021 Tokyo Olympics: Field
Field: 60 Players | No Cut
First Tee: Wednesday, July 28, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Defending Champion: Justin Rose
While a significantly stronger field than the 2016 event, the Tokyo Olympics Men’s Golf tournament still has a back-of-the-field issue that will prevent it from elevating to its place in the pantheon of importance in golf. It really seems to come down to how the individual feels about winning an Olympic medal.
Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama headline the field of 60 vying for the podium. There is no cut, so all players will get four rounds of golf in Tokyo (they’ll also get you four rounds of DraftKings scoring, too). The field was a lot stronger until the surprising announcements over the weekend that Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau both tested positive for COVID and were forced to withdraw. Patrick Reed, who has replaced DeChambeau for the U.S., Jhonattan Vegas and Mito Pereira participated in last week’s 3M Open and are making the trek from Minneapolis to Tokyo.
There are a few added incentivize for certain players depending on where they’re from. Sungjae Im and Si Woo Kim both skipped The Open to prepare for the Olympics. There is mandatory military service for men in South Korea, and earning a medal at the Olympics is one of the only ways an athlete can become exempt. This is Kim’s last chance; Im will still be young enough to have another shot in Paris in 2024 if he qualifies for the team that year. Also, CT Pan would see an almost $1M bonus from the Taiwanese government with a medal.
Also, I can personally attest either Corey Conners or Mac Hughes will get to appear in a number of Canadian commercial campaigns. They don’t even need to make the podium, they just need to have a good time, put in a good effort and maybe set a personal best somewhere. That’s the bar for Olympians appearing in ads in Canada.
2021 Tokyo Olympics: Key Stats
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Off The Tee
Sand Saves Gained
Par 4s 500+ Gained
Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
2021 Tokyo Olympics: Course
Kasumigaseki Country Club (East Course)
2021 Tokyo Olympics: Past Winners
2016: Justin Rose -16
2021 Tokyo Olympics: Strategy
One of the most exclusive golf clubs in Japan, Kasumigaseki CC isn’t using those locks from Home Depot to ensure the security of the doors. Those things are reinforced steel. For the longest time they didn’t even allow female members. That changed in 2017, however. The International Olympic Committee has to say, “Look, we’re the IOC, one of the most corrupt and despised institutions on the planet, and this is a bad look even for us. Change it or you’re out.”
At least I assume that’s how it went down.
Last hosting a competitive event in 2010, Hideki Matsuyama won the Asian Amateur that year. But since then, the course has been redesigned by Tom Fazio and his son Logan. There weren’t dramatic changes to the layout, though — it was mainly alterations to the putting surfaces. For some reason, every hole had multiple greens. Now they just have one enormous surface with wild undulations. Anticipate a higher than average amount of three putts with the average green coming in at 7,800 sq. ft.
There’s very little water on the course actually in play; the lakes seem to be an aesthetic choice. Water only comes into play on two holes. So, not a ton of water, but they did go for somewhat of a beach experience motif — there are 68 bunkers scattered across the course. They look like they may pose a lot of issues on some of the longer par 4s. All holes are fortified with rows of trees as well. From a quick glance, it looks like a longer Colonial CC.
There are a few scoring holes, with four par 4s measuring less than 400 yards, including a presumed drivable par 4 at No. 17. But the yardages swing long on the rest of the course. Two of the par 5s are at least 625 yards, so those will likely be three-shot holes. Three of the par 4s are over 500 yards, including the lengthy No. 18, so expect those to be tough. Same with the par 3s, three of which are over 200 yards.
Other Notable Fazio Design/Redesigns
Remade Quail Hollow for 2017 PGA Championship (Justin Thomas won)
Conway Farms (FedEx Cup 2017, Leishman; 2015, Jason Day; 2013, Zach Johnson)
Shadow Creek (Tiger vs Phil: The Match; 2020 CJ Cup, Kokrak over Xander)
2021 Tokyo Olympics Picks — Targets From Each Range
Justin Thomas ($10,900)
It’s been a tough go for JT since winning THE PLAYERS in March. At least by his standards. Along with Morikawa, Thomas is generally the best iron player in the world. He’s struggled on his approaches, comparatively, the past few months. This course should get him back on track, however. He’s won at the redesigned Quail Hollow in major conditions and took down the last WGC ever held at Firestone. Plus, there’s no better player in no-cut events. Of his 14 career wins, nine have come without a cut line. And, he’s already won three no-cut tournaments in Asia over that span.
Shane Lowry ($9,600)
Another golfer with a win at Firestone in his career, Lowry has continued his surge with his irons since the Florida swing. The driving and putting can be sporadic, but the results have continued to materialize. Now clinging to the final spot for the European Ryder Cup team, the Irishman has the right game for this layout, he just needs to get his skills on the same page this week.
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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was a finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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