Carl Yuan Yechun, who chases a shot during the Korn Ferry Tour Visit Knoxville Open in Tennessee on May 14, will represent China at the Tokyo Olympics next month. [GETTY IMAGES]
Young putter speaks of “a great honor and responsibility” to represent China
China rising star Carl Yuan Yechun is thrilled that he will be competing in his first ever Tokyo Olympics next month – even if it means his PGA Tour aspirations will be put on hold.
The 24-year-old Yuan will be supported by compatriot Wu Ashun at Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29 to August 1, after the list of 60 men’s qualifying players was released by the International Golf Federation on Tuesday.
“It means a lot to me to represent my country in the Olympics,” said Yuan.
“Being an Olympian has always been one of my goals and I’m glad it came true. To see the national flag hoist and the national anthem sung means everything to an athlete, and I was touched when I saw that moment on TV. “
Yuan’s dream is coming true, however, with one caveat: he must put his hunt for a PGA Tour card on hold for the next month. He is currently number 27 on the Korn Ferry Tour scoreboard, with the top 25 players moving up the PGA Tour at the end of the regular season in August. Another 25 PGA Tour tickets will be available for the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, which consists of three tournaments.
Yuan is flying back to China this week for centralized training in Nanshan, Guangdong Province. In accordance with China’s strict coronavirus controls, he must adhere to a mandatory medical quarantine.
By participating in the Tokyo Games, he will miss four Korn Ferry Tour tournaments at a crucial point in the season. However, he believes his patriotism will be rewarded on two fronts.
“It is not easy to give up some Korn Ferry Tour events while I am about to get a PGA Tour card. However, it is a great honor and my responsibility to represent my country,” said Yuan.
“I think I made the right choice, I have the confidence to play well in Tokyo and then finish the rest of the Korn Ferry Tour season strong. It will all be worth it in the end.”
“I’ll be quarantined at the Chinese national golf training facility and at least try to do a few workouts in the room. Then I’ll work on a game plan to play the Tokyo golf course.”
That year he established himself as the best Chinese mainland golfer after a series of outstanding performances in the 2020-21 season of the Korn Ferry Tour. He has enjoyed three runner-ups and four other top 20 finishes and is hoping to carry his good form to Tokyo.
“Sure there is some pressure, but that motivates me even more. I know that I have the full support of my country and my people and that will drive me to do my best. My goal is to get a medal for China said Yuan, who qualified as the 57th golfer on the qualification list.
“I played at Kasumigaseki in 2019 and had a very good impression of the golf course. I like the design, although it is a challenging layout. After the Olympics, I will be returning to the US to play the last two Korn Ferry Tours . ” Events in the regular season. I still have the option to receive my PGA tour card. I will do my best.”
36-year-old Wu, three-time European Tour winner and two-time winner in Japan, will take part in his second Olympic Games in 2016 after finishing 30th in Rio de Janeiro. He’s looking forward to winning another medal in Tokyo.
“I am very excited. I have participated in tournaments regularly and overcame many challenges. It is good that my efforts have not been in vain. I am happy to see my name on the list of 60 players at the last minute,” said Wu, who qualified in 59th place.
“Now that I’m back in China, I’ll take some time to relax, adjust and prepare for the Olympics. I’ve made plans to prepare and I hope I can go to the Olympics Games will be in good shape. My goal will be to see China’s flag fly on the golf course while the national anthem is played. “
The top 15 players in the world rankings are eligible to compete in the Olympics, with a limit of four players from a specific country or region. Beyond the top 15, players are eligible based on the world ranking, with a maximum of two eligible players from any country or region that does not already have two or more players in the top 15. The host country is also guaranteed a place in each of the five continents of the Olympic Games.
The women’s ranking will be finalized after this week’s Women’s PGA Championship.