Golden Opportunity

Denver native Wyndham Clark qualifies to represent U.S. in Olympic golf

By Gary Baines – 6/17/2024

It’s been one first after another for Denver native Wyndham Clark over the last 14 months.

— First PGA Tour victory: Check (Wells Fargo Championship in early May 2023).

— First win in a major: Check (U.S. Open a year ago).

— First time representing the U.S. in the Ryder Cup: Check (last fall in Italy).

— A competitive course record at historic Pebble Beach Golf Links: Check (with a 12-under-par 60 en route to PGA Tour victory No. 3 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in early February.)

— First time competing in the Masters: Check (in April, meaning he’d then teed it up in all four major championships over the course of his young career).

And now, the Valor Christian graduate, who grew up playing Cherry Hills Country Club, has qualified to represent the U.S. in the Summer Olympics men’s golf tournament that will take place Aug. 1-4 near Paris.

The just-completed U.S. Open marked the final event of a two-year Olympic qualifying period for the men, and Clark joined Scottie Scheffler, defending Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa in qualifying for the U.S. team based on their positions in the World Golf Rankings. Clark is fifth, Scheffler first, Schauffele third and Morikawa seventh, Bryson DeChambeau, the American who won the U.S. Open on Sunday after placing second in the PGA Championship and sixth at the Masters, is ranked 10th in the world, his cause being hurt significantly by him playing for LIV Golf rather than on the PGA Tour the last couple of years as LIV events haven’t been eligible for World Golf Ranking points.

All that remains now is for the U.S. Olympic Committee to formally select the players — informing the International Golf Federation no later than June 27. (June 18 Update: USA Golf confirmed the American Olympic team members on Tuesday morning.)

Asked In January about the prospects of playing in the Olympics, Clark told, “I want to represent my country, whether that’s for the President’s Cup or that’s for the Olympics. I always want to play on Team USA. Getting that experience at the Ryder Cup (in 2023) was amazing. I want to play in those events every year if I can. .. I definitely want to be part of it.”

The men’s field for the Olympics will feature 60 competitors. The U.S. will be the only country to feature four golfers as they have at least four players ranked in the top 15 in the world. (Actually, as of Monday, nine of the top 15-ranked men’s players in the world are Americans.)

Though Clark — a two-time Colorado boys state high school individual champion and winner of the 2010 CGA Amateur as a 16-year-old — has played some stellar golf over the 14 months, he’s struggled through much of the spring. 

The 30-year-old missed the cut at the Masters, then bounced back to place third the following week at the RBC Heritage. Since then he’s gone 47th place in his title defense at the Wells Fargo Championship, missed cut at the PGA Championship, missed cut at the Memorial, then 56th in his U.S. Open title defense.

“Really I’m trying to gain some momentum for the rest of the season,” Clark said last Monday on the eve of the U.S. Open. “I know that maybe sounds like low expectations for the week, but honestly I’d love to just gain some momentum. …

“It’s been really puzzling to me because I’ll hit great shots or I’ll play 13 really good holes, but I’m not getting much out of them. I kind of have four or five not-so-good holes. I end up shooting 1 or 2 over. I do that two rounds and you miss the cut. So that’s been really frustrating. My frustration level is definitely higher than it’s been in a long time. So it’s kind of a bummer. But it’s the great thing about golf: There’s always another week. I’ve got to believe that good golf is around the corner. I’m hitting a lot of good shots in practice. I’ve got to be able to take it to the course.”

This summer marks the fifth time golf has been included in the Olympics — and just the third time since 1904 (previously in 2016 and ’21). Barring the unforeseen, Clark will be the first Colorado high school graduate to compete in men’s Olympic golf.

The Denver native will be inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame on Dec. 1.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. The University of Colorado Evans Scholar alum was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates