The New Zealand Olympic Committee has confirmed the country’s three leading golfers for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, today including world number one, Lydia Ko together with the top-ranked New Zealand male golfers Danny Lee and Ryan Fox.
With golf on the programme for the first time since 1904, the return to the Olympic Games is a much anticipated event.
For Ko, the Olympic Games are the pinnacle event of 2016 and a medal would compare to a much coveted Major Championship. With just under a month until she hits the fairway in Rio, her medal aspirations are a realistic target.
“I’m super excited to represent New Zealand to be able to see the village, the food court and just everything it’s going to be so cool!” said Ko.
Danny Lee, ranked 12th in the Olympic field, has been climbing the world rankings over the past two years.
“The Rio Olympic Games are going to be awesome and I’m sure I will make everyone proud. It’s going to be a honour to represent my country”.
For Ryan Fox, who won a tight battle for the second New Zealand male Olympic quota spot, confirmation of Olympic selection was extra special.
“The Olympic Games are a pinnacle sporting event and I can say I’m the third generation of my family to represent New Zealand in three different sports, so it’s a pretty cool thing to be able to do,” said Fox.
Fox is the son of legendary All Black, Grant Fox.
He secured the quota spot after putting together two top five finishes on the European Challenge Tour as the qualification period closed.
New Zealand Olympic Committee Chief Executive Kereyn Smith was thrilled to welcome the athletes to the team and noted huge potential for strong performances next month.
“It's hugely exciting for Danny, Ryan and Lydia to be heading to the Rio Olympic Games. Not since 1904 in St Louis has golf appeared on the Olympic programme and for New Zealand to have these three top athletes representing us is outstanding,” said Smith.
“We wish these players all the very best in their final weeks of preparation and look forward to cheering them on in Rio."
New Zealand Golf Chief Executive Dean Murphy joined Smith in congratulating the athletes.
“This is a truly proud moment for New Zealand Golf and we believe these three athletes have a great chance in Rio and will represent the country with pride,” said Murphy.
“It has been an exciting few years for golf in this country and the Rio Olympic Games will be a special moment for the players and golf fans alike. We wish Lydia, Danny and Ryan the best of luck in Rio.”
At this time New Zealand Golf would like to acknowledge the special effort of Cathryn Bristow to qualify for the Olympic Games.
While Bristow was nominated for selection by New Zealand Golf, she was not selected for the New Zealand team based on not being able to demonstrate the ability to finish inside the top 16 in Rio.
The men will tee off in their return to the Olympics on August 11 with the women following not long after on the 17th.
Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Lydia Ko Danny Lee Ryan Fox Golf