The men’s Olympic Golf podium this past Sunday exuded experience and longevity with the likes of PGA TOUR veterans Justin Rose (gold), Henrik Stenson (silver) and Matt Kuchar (bronze). The average age of the trio is 38 years old with Rose the youngest (36) and Stenson the oldest (40). Chances are the three women standing on the podium come Saturday will be a representation of youthful exuberance and a snapshot of the future of golf.
Almost every trend in women’s golf in recent years has pointed to the fearless crop of youngsters who have taken the game by storm. And it looks like the youth movement has made its way to the Reserva de Marapendi golf course this week in Barra da Tijuca.
The top three ranked players in the world are no older than 20 years old: No. 1 Lydia Ko (19), No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (20) and Brooke Henderson (18) and are all front runners this week in Rio. In the latest world rankings, seven of the top-10 players are 24 years old or younger.
Through the first 22 events on the LPGA Tour, 20 of them were won by players 23 years old or younger, while three teenagers have broken into the winners circle (Ko, Henderson and Minjee Lee).
India’s Aditi Ashok, a rookie on the Ladies European Tour, is the youngest in the field and will be 18 years, 4 months, 19 days on day one of competition. The average age of the 60 female players is 26.97 years old. Four players are under the age of 20 and only two are over the age of 40.
Also in contrast to the men, the ladies will have three amateur competitors this week versus none last week. Leona Maguire of Ireland, Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland and Tiffany Chan of Hong Kong will try to upstage the world’s best on the world’s biggest stage.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
3 – Amateurs (Leona Maguire, Albane Valenzuela, Tiffany Chan)
26.97 – Average age of the 60 Olympians in the field
46 – Catriona Matthew is the oldest player at 46 years old
18 – Aditi Ashok is the youngest player at 18 years old
Players by Ages:
4 – <20
20 – 20-25
20 – 26-30
10 – 30-35
4 – 36-40
2 – 40+