Canada Finalizes Its 2024 Olympic Golf Team

Drive on to Paris.

Preparations are in full swing for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, but before the opening ceremony or the first medal presentation, nations have a monumental amount of work to complete. First among equals in this regard is the selection of the athletes who will pull on their countries’ colours. For Canada, this involves the identification and selection of some 370 athletes across a huge variety of sports.

This week, Team Canada announced the complete roster for its golf team, which will compete from August 1-10 at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, southwest of Paris. While it may not be overly familiar to Canadians, many golf fans will know this venue as the site of a heroic-slash-tragic Ryder Cup in 2018: heroic on the eastern side of the Atlantic, not so much on the western.

Teeing it up for Canada will be men’s golfers Nick Taylor and Corey Conners, ranked 35th and 37th in the world respectively at the time of selection. Conners is returning for his second Olympics after finishing 13th in 2020, while Taylor, who hails from Abbotsford, B.C., will be competing in his first games. He comes into the team with a significantly raised profile above the 49th parallel after becoming the first Canadian to win his country’s national open since 1954 with a playoff victory at St. George’s Golf and Country Club last year that instantly entered the pantheon of iconic Canadian sporting moments.

 

 

“The opportunity to represent my country at the Olympics has been a huge goal of mine for many years,” Taylor says. “To see the news become official today is quite humbling and surreal. I’m excited to get to Paris to compete, proudly wear the Maple Leaf, and soak in what I know will be an incredible experience.”

The women’s team is composed of two Olympic veterans, given that they have participated in all of golf’s relatively short modern Olympic history. Number 14 in the Rolex women’s world golf rankings, Brooke Henderson, and Alena Sharp, who sits at 292nd, teed it up at the Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo games. In Tokyo, Henderson finished in a tie for 29th and Sharp in solo 49th.

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Both athletes are relishing the chance to get back to the Olympics. “Any time you can go and represent your country, it’s a very proud moment,” Henderson says. “To be able to wear the Maple Leaf and go to Paris is really exciting for me.” Sharp echoes this sentiment. “Reaching the Olympics for a third time was a huge goal of mine coming into this year, and I am extremely proud to have achieved it,” she says. “Representing Canada is the highest honour I’ve had in my career.”

 

The four Canadian golfers join a heady list of worldwide talent looking to win for their country in Paris (a stark departure from the individualistic culture of professional golf, where success is often counted in dollars at the end of the year). Expected to tee it up are men’s and women’s World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and 2020 gold medalist Nelly Korda, who both come into the games riding the crest of historic seasons on the PGA and LPGA tours. The presence of so many world-class players on Team Canada and across the board is a sign of the reversal in fortune Olympic golf has undergone. Many of the game’s best initially disregarded Olympic golf as a novelty or an exhibition match, but opinion has certainly changed since Justin Rose and Inbee Park won the inaugural gold medals of golf’s Olympic return in Rio in 2016.

Taylor, Conners, Henderson, and Sharp will face a stern test at Le Golf National, which emphasizes driving accuracy and long iron play. Crucial to helping them around this European test will be the players’ caddies, who can make the difference when the pressure is on by advising on clubs, strategy, or even just providing a comforting word down the stretch. Interestingly, while nobody disputes the importance of a caddie to a win, they do not receive Olympic medals alongside their players, something that has caused some consternation amongst the ranks of professional golfers, with fan favourite and six-time PGA tour winner Max Homa saying in 2021 that the caddies should in fact receive a medal.

Le Golf national’s emphasis on accuracy proved the undoing of the big-hitting American Ryder Cup team in 2018, but with Conners inside the top 20 on the PGA Tour for driving accuracy, and Henderson’s position as a two-time major winner and top-15 all-time money winner on the LPGA—not to mention her status as the most successful Canadian professional golfer of all time—gives us reason to hope for a medal when play starts in July.

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