Kawagoe, Japan: There’s been much debate about how important the Olympic Games are in the golf calendar — but for China’s Feng Shanshan there is no argument.
The sport returned to the Olympics in Rio 2016 after a break of more than 100 years, but for many top players the majors remain the most cherished and historic prizes.
Try telling that to Rio bronze medallist Feng.
“Out of all my achievements, I would say a medal at the Olympics is very special,” China’s former world number one, whose only major win came at the 2012 US PGA Championship, said Monday at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
“Even though I’ve been a major winner, think about it, we have five majors every year, in four years we have 20 chances to win a major.
“So I would say it’s harder, much harder, to get a medal at the Olympics. It was my most memorable moment of my career.”
So precious is the bronze medal to Feng that she revealed it doesn’t sit in her trophy cabinet with her other prizes.
“I guess because it’s small enough, it stays locked in a safe,” she said. “It’s not put with the other trophies.
“But when I have friends coming over, if they want to take a look at it, yes, I would show them the medal.”
The Tokyo 2020 tournament begins Wednesday, with Feng teeing off for the first two rounds with her fellow medallists from Rio — Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who took silver, and gold medallist Park In-bee of South Korea.
“All three of us, we are going to enjoy our time and hopefully all of us can bring our ‘A-games’,” said Feng.
Feng indicated last year before Tokyo 2020 was postponed because of the coronavirus that she may retire after the Games, but China’s most successful player was happy that she is in Japan 12 months later and in good form.
She has registered three top-five finishes from eight starts on the US LPGA Tour this year and is targeting another podium finish.
“I just had to wait for one more year, so it was a tough decision… I’m not 18 any more. So that one year really makes a difference on the body,” said Feng, who turns 32 on Thursday.
“I’m pretty sure this is my last Olympic Games. I don’t think I will play in another Olympic Games so I better enjoy it.”