KAWAGOE, Japan – It will be 72 holes at the Olympic women’s competition. Or, maybe it will be 54 holes, depending on this weekend’s weather at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Players were informed via a memo Thursday afternoon that the plan remains to complete 72 holes on Saturday as scheduled, “if weather permits.” If not, “we do have the option to finish 72 holes … on Sunday,” the memo read.
But if the approaching tropical storm makes it impossible to complete 72 holes by Sunday evening, officials will revert to a 54-hole event.
"It’s the Olympics Games, first and foremost, and we want to give the athletes every opportunity to play 72 holes, in line with what we would do for major championships,” Heather Daly-Donofrio, an Olympic technical delegate, told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.
“The players have known since yesterday that we may have to shorten to 54 [holes], but we want to give them every opportunity to play.”
At last week’s men’s competition, seven players finished tied for third place and a four-hole playoff was required to award C.T. Pan the bronze medal. If the women's event was reduced to 54 holes and there were ties for second or third place, Daly-Donofrio said they would try to execute a playoff.
“I think our goal would be to do everything we could to stage a playoff of some kind here at the golf course," Daly-Donofrio said. "There will be pockets of weather where we could get some play out there. We could alter playoff holes, depending on the nature of the weather and the condition of the golf course. Our goal would be to do everything we possibly can to deliver those playoffs for the athletes.”
The updated plan also calls for earlier tee times for Friday and Saturday. Round 3 is scheduled to begin off the first and 10th tees in threesomes at 7:30 a.m. local time (6:30 p.m. ET on Thursday). The fourth round would follow a similar format and begin at 6:30 a.m. local time on Saturday if weather permits.
"We were faced with a potential typhoon early in the week last week here at the Olympic Games and that dissipated and didn’t materialize," Daly-Donofrio said, "so we’re hoping for some of that same good fortune this weekend.”