After over one hundred years in the wilderness, golf is once again an Olympic sport. In this article, we’re going to give you a brief history of golf at the greatest sporting event on Earth, and we’ll also be looking forward to the next edition of the tournament, in Tokyo, in 2020.

A history of golf at the Olympics

Golf made its debut at the 1900 Olympics in Paris, at a time when the sport was really starting to take off around the world. Men’s and women’s competitions were held, with the former competing in stroke play over 36 holes and the latter battling it out over just nine holes. Four nations took part, but The United States took home a clean sweep of the gold medals, with Charles Sands and Margaret Abbott emerging victorious. Four years later, in St Louis, the women’s individual event was replaced by the men’s team competition, again won by the United States. George Lyon, a Canadian, won gold in the individual contest.

Rio 2016

And that was it for golf at the Olympics for an incredible 112 years. The sport was dropped for the 1908 Games in London, when the entire British team dropped out, leaving Lyon as the sole competitor.

However, in 2009, the IOC chose to reintroduce it for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, as well as in 2020 in Tokyo. The competitions – a men’s and a women’s individual stroke play tournament played over 72 holes – took place in August 2016, at the newly-built Olympic golf course built within the Reserva de Marapendi in the Barra da Tijuca zone.

The men’s event got underway first. Despite concerns about the Zika virus, some of the best players in the world, including Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia, decided to represent their nations in this historic triumph for the sport.

For the first two days, Australian Marcus Fraser led the pack, but he was pulled back on an eventful third day which saw 2013 US Open winner Justin Rose, from Great Britain, top the leading board, ahead of recent Open champion Henrik Stenson. And Rose managed to hold on to win the tournament – and a momentous gold medal – on the deciding Sunday, winning by two shots from the Swede Stenson, with USA’s Matt Kuchar closely behind in the bronze position.

In the women’s tournament, held a week later, South Korean star Inbee Park led from the second day to take home the gold by five strokes. Lydia Ko of New Zealand won the silver on -11, with China’s Shanshan Feng a further shot behind. Australian Minjee Lee finished tied for eighth in the women’s competition; the best showing in the men’s, after Adam Scott’s withdrawal, was Fraser, who was tied fifth despite his strong start.

Tokyo 2020

Golf will once again take its place, alongside 32 sports, among the roster at the next Olympics, which will be held in the Japanese capital of Tokyo from 24th July to 9th August 2020. Both men’s and women’s tournaments, the structure of which have remained unchanged from Rio, will be held at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama, around half an hour outside of the city of Tokyo. The course has previously held the Japan Open Golf Championship and the Asian Amateur Championship.

As with Euros 2020 and the countries that qualified, qualification for each competition will be automatic, with 60 players in each tournament. The top 15 male and female players will qualify automatically, with the rest of the places being filled -depending on rankings – on a two-per-country basis.

Unlike in Rio, when the likes of Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy pulled out, it’s likely that a full field of golf’s very best will be present in Japan.

So, there it is: all you need to know about golf as it has been, and will be, played on the highest stage of all: the Olympic Games. Now, who are your bets to emerge as the fourth gold medal winners in 2020?