Marty Dou

China’s Marty Zecheng Dou has a vivid memory of the first time he watched the Olympic Games on TV which he hopes will help him soar to a medal of any colour in the men’s golf competition in Paris this August.

The 27-year-old Dou will make his Olympics debut alongside close friend, Carl Yuan where the duo will aim to upset the odds against the likes of World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Xander Schauffele and World No. 3 Rory McIlroy.

As a seven-year kid, Dou recalls celebrating with the entire nation when Liu Xiang sensationally delivered China’s first ever gold medal in track and field at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

“My very first Olympic memory was watching Liu Xiang win the 110-meter hurdles,” recalled Dou. “I was really excited and I think every Olympic champion is awesome and is my role medal. They are challenging the limits of the human body, while representing their country.”

Currently ranked 356th in the world, Dou, who has split his time playing on the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR this season, knows fully well that he and Yuan will need to produce a herculean effort at Le Golf National in Paris from August 1-4 to have any chance of a podium finish.

While Liu will serve as his inspiration, the success of Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia and Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan who won the silver and bronze respectively in Tokyo 2020 is prove that winning a medal in golf is not a long shot. Sabbatini qualified for Tokyo as the 161st ranked golfer in the world while Pan was ranked 181st.

“Only 60 male golfers will play in the Olympics. Anything is possible. Not matter who is there, Xander or Scottie, it is possible for me to get a medal,” said Dou. “The Olympics will be my focus since I missed qualification twice previously. Both times, I was ranked third amongst the Chinese players.

“I have never played at Le Golf National and I have heard it is somewhat similar to TPC Sawgrass in terms of difficulty. The only time I played in France was when I represented China in a junior tournament. I’ll certainly take time to learn the golf course from the Monday of the tournament week.”

He recently completed a hectic run of eight consecutive tournaments on both the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR where he posted one top-10 at the Adventhealth Championship on the former, and missed one cut. With limited access on the PGA TOUR after he finished 132nd on the FedExCup points list last season, Dou conceded it has been difficult to plan his playing schedule effectively as he was often on the reserve list, and making last-minute travel plans.

“I was always waiting for playing opportunities on the PGA TOUR, and also need to plan my schedule on the Korn Ferry Tour. It is difficult to balance my schedule and focus on both tours. I think it affected my rhythm this season,” he said.

“When I play every week, I find that I don’t have time for practice and make adjustments. Sometimes, I doubt myself whenever I hit bad shots. I’m trying to not put pressure on myself, and then hopefully good shots may come.”

He has received a start in this week’s John Deere Classic on the PGA TOUR and plans to add a couple more events on his schedule before returning to China later this month. He will then head to Paris with the China Olympics contingent.

An avid table tennis player, Dou intends to catch the competition during his time off from golf in Paris. “I plan to watch badminton, ping pong and the 100-meter sprint in athletics. I played badminton when I was young, and I like ping pong too,” he said.

A three-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour, Dou has enjoyed two seasons on the PGA TOUR and while he did not retain full playing rights on both occasions, he is in no rush to play his way back onto the world’s elite circuit. “I have not set a goal where I must get back onto the PGA TOUR. I am looking to enjoy my golf more and enjoy life. My aim is to keep improving my skills,” said Dou.

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