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Tokyo 2020: Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood determined to defend golf gold

Tokyo 2020: Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood determined to defend golf gold
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Justin Rose won in Rio five years ago but a new duo will go in search of keeping the title in British hands.

There are certain to be new medallists in the men's golf in Tokyo, but Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood are determined to "defend" the title for Team GB.

Justin Rose won gold ahead of Sweden's Henrik Stenson and American Matt Kuchar when the sport returned to the Games after an absence of 112 years in Rio in 2016.

But none of the medallists were able to qualify for their respective teams five years on, with Casey and Fleetwood delighted to be the duo attempting to add to Team GB's medal rush at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama.

Justin Rose
Great Britain's Justin Rose (centre) celebrates winning gold with silver medallist Henrik Stenson (left) and bronze medallist Matt Kuchar (right), at the Olympic Golf Course in Rio (Mike Egerton/PA)

"I was a massive fan of the Olympics as a kid growing up and loved watching it during the summers," Casey said. "Never thought I would be sitting here as an athlete in the Olympic Games until seeing golf's inclusion back in Rio and then Justin's brilliant performance.

"I guess we've got a lot to try and live up to. We're defending gold, technically, Team GB. I couldn't be more proud to be included in this great Team GB team.

"Honestly, even this week I feel kind of invigorated and I feel passion and pride to be wearing this shirt and to be competing and I couldn't think of anything greater than winning a gold medal as a golfer."

Fleetwood finished behind Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick in qualifying but has made no secret of how much he is relishing taking up his place in Team GB after his fellow Englishmen turned down the opportunity.

"It means a lot," Fleetwood said. "I was so, so happy when I made it to the Olympics. I think from the moment I put a shirt on in my garage at home to getting on the flight to arriving here to being around the village, I think all of it is a very special experience.

"But I think being surrounded by all the athletes that put so much into this on a daily basis throughout their lives, I think it's inspirational. You're both a competitor and one of the biggest GB fans because you're in and amongst it and you're with everyone.

"So far I've loved every minute. Obviously, you get to the golf course and you do everything that you normally do. But just what goes around this event, it being the Olympic Games, it's something that we have never done before and it's amazing.

"I think one of the things that is apparent when you're at the Games is every athlete of every sport is on their own journey. Some guys are unbelievably excited and happy to have even just made it to an Olympic Games, to be an Olympian.

"There are others that are expected to win gold. There's others that know that if they do well they can win a medal. So I think everybody's got their own agenda.

"As big as it all is, you're part of a nation and part of a team but everyone is also on their own quest to get here and the journey is not over until your Olympics is over and we'll see what we can do."

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Jack Laugher pictured in July 2019
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