Tiger Woods reveals Olympic gold medal ambitions for Tokyo 2020
Tiger Woods is serious about his Olympic ambitions.
The American superstar wants to challenge for gold at Tokyo 2020 where golf will once again be a medal sport after a successful Olympic return in 2016.
Woods was never in serious contention for Rio as he was suffering from chronic back problems.
But he is in a very different place this time around having won his 15th major title - his first for 11 years - at the Masters in April.
Ahead of this week's US Open at Pebble Beach, Woods said, "Olympic gold medal would be a hell of a feat.
"First I need to qualify. It would be exciting if I got a chance to represent the United States in the Olympic Games."
The 43-year-old is well aware Tokyo 2020 might be his only chance .
"I don't know how many more times I get a run at it. Next time I'll be 48. So it's... I don't have that many chances of playing for the United States in the Olympics. So it will certainly be an honour if I were able to represent the United States."
Making the team
Woods is currently number five in the world and the third-highest ranked American golfer.
If he was still in that position come June 2020, he would be selected for the Olympic Games.
"Would I like to play in the Olympics? Yes."
A country can have four participants if they are in the top 15 of the world rankings in June 2020.
The United States looks almost certain to fulfill that criteria with 10 players currently in the top 15 and competition for Tokyo guaranteed to be fierce.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, all other countries will have a maximum of two golfers in the Olympic competition.
"I've never played in the Olympics and I'm sure that I won't have many more opportunities going forward,'' Woods added on Tuesday. "That would be a first for me and something that I would certainly welcome if I was part of the team.''
Figuring out a schedule that will get him to Tokyo could be tricky, Woods acknowledged.
"How many events do I play, do I add a couple more to get in? These are all questions that will be answered going forward,” said the 43-year-old.
“I just know that if I play well in the big events like I did this year, things will take care of themselves.'' - Tiger Woods
Woods isn’t the only top-tier golfer eyeing next year’s Olympics.
Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, currently fourth in the 2020 Olympic golf qualification rankings, also expressed his interest ahead of this week’s PGA Championships.
"I think as a young boy it was always my dream to play for Ireland,” said the four-time major champion. I wanted to play for Ireland. I was very proud to put on that shirt or that blazer.
“More likely than not I will play,” said McIlroy. “I think it would be a great experience."
Golf returned to the Olympic programme for Rio 2016, where the men's gold medal was won by Justin Rose of England, and South Korea's Inbee Park took the women's individual title. Watch highlights of both those events here: