As U.S. Open starts, Olympic men’s golf picture far from settled

Dustin Johnson
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Dustin Johnson is grouped with Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau for the first two rounds of this week’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot. It’s possible none of them will play in the Tokyo Olympics.

Such is the qualifying scenario for one of the hardest teams to make in all Olympic sports — the U.S. men’s golf roster.

The top four Americans in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) after the 2021 U.S. Open will qualify outright for the Tokyo Games (assuming they are top 15 in the world, which at this point looks certain).

Since the OWGR is made up of a golfer’s results from the last two years, many tournaments with Olympic qualifying points at stake have already been played. This week’s U.S. Open, as a major, carries a significant amount of points (though next year’s U.S. Open will have the most points, as the ranking places greater weight on recent tournaments).

U.S. OPEN: NBC TV Schedule | GolfChannel.com Coverage

Johnson, coming off his FedEx Cup title, is ranked No. 1 in the world and No. 1 in Olympic qualifying.

But back in March, he ruled out playing in the Tokyo Olympics had they been held as originally planned in 2020. Johnson prioritized the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which were to start two weeks after the Olympic tournament on the other side of the world.

Much has changed in the last six months. The Olympics, now postponed to 2021. The PGA Tour schedule added an extra week between the Olympic tournament and the Playoffs next year (though the inserted tournament is a World Golf Championships event). And Johnson is now a FedEx Cup champion, crossing off a career goal.

Johnson’s manager said Tuesday that his golfer’s Olympic plans have not been discussed lately.

“We will likely sit down and look at the schedule later this year and formulate a plan for 2021,” David Winkle said in an email.

Golf Channel rankings guru Alan Robison has Johnson followed by Justin ThomasCollin Morikawa and Webb Simpson in the current U.S. Olympic qualifying standings. If Johnson passes on an Olympic spot, Xander Schauffele is next in line.

As of now, the following players would not qualify for the Olympics outright despite being ranked Nos. 7-11 in the world: Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay.

Last year at this time, Koepka led Olympic qualifying. He appeared a shoo-in for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

But with the Olympics pushed back a year, his points from winning the 2019 PGA Championship and placing fourth or better in last year’s other three majors were downgraded significantly with OWGR recency weighting. He has just one top-five PGA Tour finish in the last 12 months, while other Americans surged.

Likewise, Woods put himself in 2020 Olympic contention by winning the 2019 Masters and last October’s Zozo Championship in Japan.

But Woods, who continues to play a limited schedule (which the OWGR formula discourages), has finished higher than 37th in one tournament in 2020 (a tie for ninth at the Farmers Insurance Open in January).

He slid outside the top 20 in the OWGR and well outside the top 10 in U.S. Olympic qualifying. For Woods and just about any American, a victory at Winged Foot would put them in Olympic contention.

Koepka will miss the U.S. Open after battling knee and hip injuries. Fortunately for him and Woods, the biggest tournaments in Olympic qualifying are still to come, including a pair of Masters.

MORE: ‘Road to Tokyo’ Olympic, Paralympic channel launches on Peacock

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Ukraine Olympic champion auctions gold medals to support his country

Yuriy Cheban
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Sprint canoeist Yuriy Cheban, Ukraine’s most decorated male Olympian, is auctioning his two gold medals and one bronze medal to support his country’s defense and recovery efforts amid the war with Russia.

“It was one of the best moments of my life that can be compared only with the birth of my child,” Cheban posted specifically about his repeat 200m gold at his last Olympics in Rio in 2016. “This Olympic finish left a great memory forever in the world history and in the hearts of Ukraine.

“Time to move on, I would like these medals to benefit Ukrainians once again.”

Cheban, a 36-year-old who coached Ukraine canoeists at the Tokyo Games, took 500m bronze in 2008 before his 200m golds in 2012 and 2016, all in individual races.

He and boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko are the only men to win two Olympic gold medals for Ukraine, which began competing independently in 1994. Cheban is the only man to win three total Olympic medals for Ukraine, according to Olympedia.org.

Swimmer Yana Klochkova won the most medals for Ukraine — four golds and five total.

All proceeds from the sales will go to Ukraine’s Olympic Circle charity, according to SCP Auctions.

Olympic Circle was created by sportsmen to help Mykolaiv, a city in southern Ukraine, fight Russian occupants, according to SCP.

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Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule for 2022-23 World Cup season

Mikaela Shiffrin, Marco Odermatt
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NBC Sports and Peacock combine to air live coverage of the 2022-23 Alpine skiing season, including races on the World Cup, which starts this weekend.

Coverage begins with the traditional season-opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria, this Saturday and Sunday, streaming live on Peacock.

The first of four stops in the U.S. — the most in 26 years — is Thanksgiving weekend with a women’s giant slalom and slalom in Killington, Vermont. The men’s tour visits Beaver Creek, Colorado the following week, as well as Palisades Tahoe, California, and Aspen, Colorado after worlds in Courchevel and Meribel, France.

NBC Sports platforms will broadcast all four U.S. stops in the Alpine World Cup season, plus four more World Cups in other ski and snowboard disciplines. All Alpine World Cups in Austria will stream live on Peacock.

Mikaela Shiffrin, who last year won her fourth World Cup overall title, is the headliner. Shiffrin, who has 74 career World Cup race victories, will try to close the gap on the only Alpine skiers with more: Lindsey Vonn (82) and Ingemar Stenmark (86). Shiffrin won an average of five times per season the last three years and is hopeful of racing more often this season.

On the men’s side, 25-year-old Swiss Marco Odermatt returns after becoming the youngest man to win the overall, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, since Marcel Hirscher won the second of his record eight in a row in 2013.

2022-23 Alpine Skiing World Cup Broadcast Schedule
Schedule will be added to as the season progresses. All NBC Sports TV coverage also streams live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Date Coverage Network/Platform Time (ET)
Sat., Oct. 22 Women’s GS (Run 1) – Soelden (PPD) Peacock 4 a.m.
Women’s GS (Run 2) – Soelden (PPD) Peacock 7:05 a.m.
Sun., Oct. 23 Men’s GS (Run 1) — Soelden Peacock 4 a.m.
Men’s GS (Run 2) – Soelden Peacock 7 a.m.
Sat., Nov. 12 Women’s Parallel (Qualifying) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 6 a.m.
Women’s Parallel (Finals) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 12 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 13 Men’s Parallel (Qualifying) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 4 a.m.
Men’s Parallel (Finals) — Lech (PPD) Peacock 10 a.m.
Sat., Nov. 19 Women’s SL (Run 1) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 4 a.m.
Women’s SL (Run 2) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 7 a.m.
Sun., Nov. 20 Women’s SL (Run 1) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 4:15 a.m.
Women’s SL (Run 2) — Levi Skiandsnowboard.live 7:15 a.m.
Fri., Nov. 25 Men’s DH — Lake Louise (PPD) Skiandsnowboard.live 2:30 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 26 Women’s GS (Run 2) — Killington NBC, Peacock 12:30 p.m.
Men’s DH — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 27 Women’s SL (Run 2) — Killington NBC, Peacock 12:30 p.m.
Men’s SG — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2:15 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 2 Women’s DH — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 3 Women’s DH — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 2:30 p.m.
Men’s DH — Beaver Creek CNBC, Peacock 4 p.m.*
Men’s DH — Beaver Creek NBC, Peacock 5 p.m.*
Sun., Dec. 4 Women’s SG — Lake Louise Skiandsnowboard.live 1 p.m.
Men’s SG — Beaver Creek NBC, Peacock 5 p.m.*

*Delayed broadcast.

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