Former Wyoming Golfer David Hearn will lead Team Canada into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this month. The Opening Ceremonies for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad will take place on Aug. 5, as the events will run through Aug. 21.
“I’m beyond excited to represent Canada,” Hearn said. “I will be able to begin the experience by taking in all that the Opening Ceremonies have to offer. The International Golf Federation (IGF) utilized the official world golf rankings to create Olympic Golf rankings for eligibility. With a few exceptions, each country will take two competitors. I was the top-ranked Canadian and Graham (DaLaet) was the next highest. I know we both want to go down there and play to the best of our abilities.”
After 112 years, golf will once again be an Olympic sport. Before that, golf was only an event in the Paris Olympics 1900 and the St. Louis games in 1904. The men’s Olympic golf competition will take place from August 11-14, with all competitors playing 72 holes. There is no 36-hole cut. The newly-created Olympic Golf Course at Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will host golf's return to the Olympic Games.
Hearn and DaLaet will look to defend Canada’s Olympic title. In 1904, George S. Lyon won the Olympic gold for Canada at the Glen Echo Country Club in St. Louis. Canada and the United States were the only two competing countries at the 1904 Olympic Games. According to the IGF, 40 countries, from all continents are expected to be represented in both the men’s and women’s competitions this year in Rio.
“Although golf has not been a part of the Olympics for years, Canada has a pretty interesting history with the Games,” Hearn added. “Canadians are very proud of the fact that George Lyons was the last one to bring home that gold medal. I’ve had the chance to represent Canada at many levels in the amateur and professional levels, but to be able to do that in the Olympics is very unique and special. I couldn’t be happier to compete down there and call myself a part of team Canada.”
Hearn will be making his way to the Olympic Games after a good start to the 2016 season, as well as coming off his best-career finish in the FedEx Cup standings in 2015. He ended 2015 in 55th place in the FedEx Cup standings and is currently in 78th place for this season. Recently, he has placed in the top-20 of the Quicken Loans National and the Barbasol Championship.
“When it comes to this competition, I have thought about strategy,” Hearn mentioned. “There is a sixty-player field and everyone wants to bring home a medal. If you are in the position with a few holes to go and you need to make a move to get that medal, I think you need to do it and see how things shake out. Obviously, it’s a success for all the competitors because you are an Olympian representing your country. It is something to be very proud of.”
Of the 60 competitors, Hearn is ranked No. 35, while fellow Canadian DeLaet is No. 40. USA’s Bubba Watson tops the list. Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Rickie Fowler are in second and third, respectively.
“I have been to Latin America before, but never Rio,” Hearn added. “No one has played the course before so everyone will go down there with the same challenges and it will create sort of a level playing field in terms of learning the course. It will be fun to see how it all works out.”
Hearn, a native of Brampton, Ontario, was a member of the Cowboy golf team from 1997-2001. He was a First Team All-Mountain West selection in 2001 and qualified for NCAA Regionals three times. He was inducted in the University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.