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Olympics closer to adding mixed-team event in golf for 2028

The Grant Thornton Invitational began last year to strong reviews from the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players who took part in the first mixed-team event since 1999.

Next on the horizon are the Olympics.

The format already is set for the Summer Olympics at Le Golf National outside Paris. Just like in Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, there will be 72-hole competitions for the men and the women. But Olympic officials are close to finalizing a team competition for the 2028 Games at Riviera in Los Angeles.

One person involved in the talks said an announcement could come as early as the Masters. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details are not completed.

Among the details are how many teams would play and the format for the competition. The current plan for 2028 is for the men to start on Wednesday (instead of Thursday) and finish on Saturday. The team competition could take place on Sunday and Monday. The women would have a practice round on Tuesday and start their competition on Wednesday.

The International Olympic Committee tends to frown on awarding two medals from one competition, such as combining scores from individuals into a team medal. That’s why golf officials are proposing a separate event.

Still to be determined is how many countries will be eligible to compete. One option currently being discussed is 36 holes of fourballs to decide the team medalists.

The IOC would do well to consider singles. To have a team format (foursomes or fourballs) on Sunday, followed by singles scores from each male and female players could produce 54-hole scores.

Such is the format used at the Summer Youth Olympics, where golf was played first in 2014. At the last such competition, Atthaya Thitikul was part of the Thai team that won the gold over Akshay Bhatia and Lucy Li of the United States.

A mixed-team event would require only two more days for the players. It’s unlikely any of the top players would be playing the following week at a regular PGA Tour event.

Lydia Ko and Jason Day won the inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational. Ko already has a silver and a bronze in her two Olympic appearances.