It’s golf this week but not as we know it as the players take each other on for Gold, Siver and Bronze at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The venue for the golf medals is actually one hour north of Tokyo at Kasumigaseki Country Club, Saitama.
This par 72 parkland course is a typical Japanese tree lined track with plenty of trouble awaiting for any wayward shots tee to green, enough to give the participants plenty to think about, as a matter of interest, are they golfers or athletes this week????
A few notable big names have already withdrawn or refused to travel to Japan, these include the entire Spanish team who include World number one Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia and also Bryson De Chambeau representing the United States.
Justin Rose returns, not to defend his title but trying to claim another Gold medal for Great Britain after his Gold achievement at Rio 2016.
The weather is forecast to be hot, very hot from start to finish with temperatures expected to reach the mid 30s with very hot and humid conditions.
I actually watched the triathlon in the early hours yesterday and they had to start the event earlier, 6am Tokyo time due to the heat and humidity. I don’t know how they made it to the finish line in those conditions? I was exhausted just watching.
The tournament will be the normal format we are all used to, 72 holes over four days from 29th July -1st August.
The event will be screened on the BBC with live coverage starting at 12am GMT in the early hours Thursday morning.
So let’s have a look at some of these Olympic golfers and try select the Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists. What odds would I get for that I wonder?
From a betting perspective it’s still the same format with each-way places available for up to eight places with some firms so it’s always advisable to shop about for the each-way punters.
For my first and main selection at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 I’m going to single out Cameron Smith 22/1 EW William Hill, who are currently offering seven places.
The young, talented 27 yrs old Mullet from Australia is used to hot conditions in his native homeland so should be one of the players best suited to these hot and humid conditions which shouldn’t be a problem to him and I feel he will adapt best of the rest.
The World number 28 in the rankings hasn’t exactly been on fire recently but he has been consistent. Last time out at The Open Championship at Royal St George’s he finished T33rd, fairly reasonable in my form book.
Smith has five Top 20 finishes in his last eleven events with three of them in the Top 10. He was 4th at the Genesis Invitational, T9th at the RBC Heritage with the most notable being T10th at The Masters at Augusta.
With only eighteen of the world's Top 50 golfers in attendance this week for the Olympics, Smith can take advantage and show us all what he is capable of.
He is from the Gold Coast, a place I know only to well with family over there and it could well be gold for the talented Aussie in Tokyo, sorry Saitama.
Smith is a patriot and a hero back home and will give it his all to win the gold medal. He won the Zurich Classic with his fellow countryman Mark Leishman and you could see how fired up they were flying the flag for Australia.
Smith also has plenty experience playing in the Far East unlike most in this field and will relish the challenge flying the flag for the millions of Aussies watching back home in front of the barbecue.
For my next selection I’m going to advise Viktor Hovland 14/1 EW Betfair.
The ever-talented, young 23yrs old Norwegian from Oslo has had a sensational year so far which has seen him rise up the rankings to number 11 in the world.
He comes to Japan with outstanding form and is another patriotic golfer who will do everything possible to bring the gold home for Norway.
With three Top 3 finishes in his last seven tournaments including a victory at the BMW Invitational, Hovland arrives here with probably the most consistent form in this field.
He was a more than respectable T12th last time out at The Open Championship and is another who has proved he can handle these hot and humid conditions when winning in Puerto Rico and Mexico both last year at the Puerto Rico Open and the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
As previously mentioned, it’s all going to come down to who can best handle these conditions and Hovland looks like a perfect candidate.
He is currently ranked 3rd on the PGA Tour for shots gained approach play and these figures will be key around this Kasumigaseki lay out.
It would be an amazing achievement in Hovland's glorious young career to stand on the winner's podium collecting the gold medal to the tune of the Norwegian National anthem and if it’s not gold then it’s going to be Silver or Bronze.
For my next pick for a medal I’m liking the look of the golfer representing the home nation at the Olympics, Hideki Matsuyama 12/1 EW Bet365.
Hideki is treated with God-like reverence in this golf-mad nation and comes here playing in his home country for the first time since becoming the first ever Japanese player to win a major when winning The Masters at Augusta back in April.
If he was to win gold with his already Godly status, he could be running for president next in Japan. His chances may have been enhanced if playing in front of a home crowd but as far as I’m aware there will be little or no supporters in attendance this week.
However, Matsuyama will almost certainly be accustomed to the conditions in his homeland. Since The Masters in April, Hideki has only played in five events with two of those being majors where he finished T23rd at the PGA Championship and T26th at the US Open so clearly enjoys the big events and this week there is none bigger than winning Gold at the Olympics to round off what would be a golden year for Hideki Matsuyama.
Abraham Ancer v Patrick Reed
For my final selection it’s the customary matchbet and I’m going to advise Abraham Ancer 11/10 Nap Betfair to get the better of Patrick Reed who was a last minute call up which could hamper his chances with not as much time to adjust.