KAWAGOE, Japan — Four feet between his ball and therefore the cup was all that separated American Xander Schauffele from an Olympic trophy, and he couldn’t help but let his mind wander. For Schauffele, it might be as special as a serious, the championships that have eluded him far too repeatedly, last at the Masters. For his father, an Olympic medal to share after his own aspirations led to a horrific car accident that cost him his left eye. Schauffele bowed his head and closed his eyes to snap back to this.
“I just reminded myself, this is often just a 4-footer,” he said Sunday. “All you’ve got to try to do is make it. No big deal.” He made it. it had been an enormous deal. With more pressure than he needed, Schauffele got the prize he wanted during a conclusion to men’s golf so wild that nine players were still within the mix for a medal because the last three players measured their putts on the 18th green. The putt that mattered most belonged to Schauffele, who had to get up in need of the water and believe a wedge and a putt for par and a 4-under 67.
“I maybe put more pressure on myself eager to go win this quite anything,” he said. “And with my dad, he dedicated an enormous chunk of his life for quite a while to obtain a medal, which was removed from him. … it had been quite just golf on behalf of me. and I am just really, really happy and fortunate to be sitting here.” Rory Sabbatini set an Olympic record with a 61 — with two bogeys on his card — that almost was ok for a sudden-death playoff for the gold. He was quite happy to win the silver for Slovakia. The bronze? Well, that was complicated.
Hideki Matsuyama’s dream of adding gold to a Masters’s green jacket ended when he missed too many putts along with the rear nine at Kasumigaseki club. He still had a 12-foot birdie putt for the bronze on the ultimate hole. He missed that, too, putting him during a seven-man playoff among players from seven countries for the ultimate medal. Matsuyama was eliminated on the primary extra hole, alongside Paul Casey, with a bogey. Less than a month far away from recovering from COVID-19, the Japanese star was 1 shot out of the lead with four holes to play and aroused without a medal.
No gold, silver, or bronze. He still features a green jacket. Rory McIlroy, Mito Pereira, and Sebastian Munoz were bounced on the third playoff hole with pars. That left C.T. Pan and therefore the Open champion Collin Morikawa, who both shot 63, and Pan won with an 8-foot par. Stefan Schauffele watched the medal ceremony from off the 18th green, tears behind dark sunglasses as his son put the medal around his neck. The father was 20 when he was invited to coach with Germany’s national team as a decathlete. He was hit by a drunken driver, a crash that left him blind in one eye and not ready to compete within the sports he loved.
He eventually found golf, which he passed on to his son. “Because of what happened to me, I promised myself I will be able to confirm my kids will determine how good they’re at whatever they’re trying to try to to. during this case, it had been golf,” the daddy said. “That was fueled by the very fact I never acknowledged how good I used to be .” Schauffele, whose mother was raised in Japan and has grandparents within the city who were kept from watching him under the ban on spectators, seemed to have this won right along . Sabbatini finished with a fist-pumping birdie on the 18th hole. That put him 1 shot behind Schauffele, who still had six holes remaining and two good scoring chances.
And then one swing changed everything. Schauffele sent his tee shot well right of the green on the par-5 14th and into the bushes. He had to require a 1-stroke penalty just to urge out, took 3 more shots to succeed in the green, and made a 5-foot putt for bogey. He was tied for the lead, with Matsuyama 1 shot behind. Schauffele kept his California cool and delivered two clutch putts at the top. “I was trying so hard to only stay calm,” Schauffele said. “But man, it had been stressful. and that I made that putt and it had been just an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Sabbatini had plenty to be happy about with silver. Born in South Africa, he decided at the top of 2018 to become a Slovakian citizen through his wife, Martina, who had a relative running the small Slovak Golf Federation. His wife caddied for him in the week . That made him eligible for the Olympics, and now Slovakia has its third medal within the Tokyo Games. it’s gold in women’s trap and silver in men’s kayak. Sabbatini is that the first Slovakian to compete in Olympic golf. “The sole purpose of it had been to get future generations of Slovak golfers,” Sabbatini said. “It’s not precisely the prime sport for teenagers to get older and need to travel play in Slovakia, so hopefully we will inspire future Olympians.”