14 August 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: It took 112 years for golf to find a new Olympic champion, but it was well worth the wait.
England’s Justin Rose followed in the footsteps of the long-departed George Lyon of Canada when he climbed onto the podium to collect the Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro.
On a sun-drenched final day, in front of a sell-out crowd of 12,000 at Reserva de Marapendi Golf Course, Rose added the Olympic crown to his 2013 US Open title after a prolonged and exciting battle down the stretch with Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.
In the end, the packed grandstand which turned the 18th arena into a noisy sporting amphitheatre, watched spellbound as Rose got up-and-down from the side of the green for the birdie which sealed a worthy gold medal performance.
Rose finished with four rounds in the sixties and his closing 67 secured the gold medal with a 16-under-par total of 268. Stenson took silver with a fourth-round 68 for 270 and Kuchar’s swashbuckling last day brought home the remaining medal on 271.
After holing out for a birdie four on the 18th, Rose punched the air in celebration and fell into the arms of his wife, Kate, before savouring the medal ceremony as the Olympic golf champion.
“Olympic gold medalist - It sounds absolutely incredible,” said the 36-year-old. “I was on that last green, just sort of pinching myself and taking myself back to the quote that I had given about the Olympics all along – that I hoped my resumé one day read: ‘multiple major champion and Olympic gold medalist’ and if that happened then I'd be a very, very happy man. I pretty much just need the multiple major now, but for the most part, I'm there on that quote.
“The whole week, I've been so focused, really, to be honest with you. I've been so into it. I've been so up for it. I've been just so determined, I suppose, to represent Team GB as best as I could, and it was just the most magical week, it really was.”
The final round in Rio delivered the anticipated head-to-head between two outstanding major champions. And both men held a narrow lead at different times as they exchanged birdies.
Next stop The Ryder Cup...