2016 Olympic Golf: Sunday's Winners & Losers

Who were the winners and losers on Day 4 of golf's return to the Summer Games? Let's take a look with our final roundup of the 2016 Olympic golf competition


Winner -- Justin Rose

Winner -- Justin Rose
The 36-year-old Englishman bought into the Olympics from the outset, consistently expressing throughout 2016 how special it would be to win an Olympic medal. Having put himself in a position to do just that with a third-round 65 that gave him a one-stroke lead entering Sunday, Rose seized the moment with a birdie on the 18th hole for a closing 67 that earned him the gold. It wasn’t a perfect round, with a pair of bogeys keeping things close in his showdown with Henrik Stenson. But Rose stood tall with a birdie on the 15th to stay in the fight, and then showed his true mettle on the par-5 18th when he hit his short third shot within 2½ feet, putting the pressure on Stenson to make his long birdie try. When he didn’t, Rose could finally exhale and appreciate that his resume now includes a major championship, a World Golf Championship and the rarest piece of hardware in golf. -- Ryan Herrington

Winner -- Henrik Stenson

Winner -- Henrik Stenson
Yes, there was that sloppy closing bogey, but Stenson still walked away from Rio with a silver medal, continuing an incredible month of play from the Swede. Stenson won his first major championship at the British Open and then contended for another at the PGA Championship. With the way Stenson is playing -- particularly the way he’s putting -- there’s probably no one as excited for the upcoming FedEx Cup Playoffs. -- Alex Myers

Winner -- Rose-Stenson battle

Winner -- Rose-Stenson battle
Though all of golf's elite players didn’t come to Rio, two of the best players in the world battled over the final 18 holes for the first gold medal in 112 years. Stenson and Rose provided a memorable final-round duel, exactly what golf needed in its Olympic reintroduction. Stenson hit some loose shots coming in, leaving his approaches short on Nos. 12 and 14 and tugging his tee shot for a bogey on the 13th, but tied the lead after a birdie on 16. Rose would answer at the last, however, knocking his eagle chip within feet to clinch the gold. This finish was yet another tremendous final-round battle in a dramatic year for golf. -- Stephen Hennessey

Loser -- Marcus Fraser

Fraser was in the final group on Sunday, starting three strokes back of leader Justin Rose. Not that viewers noticed: In conditions that splattered the leader board in red numbers, the 38-year-old Aussie went south, failing eight strokes behind Rose and Henrik Stenson after just nine holes. Fraser did contribute one of the highlights of the tournament with his first-round 63. Alas, Fraser failed to muster anything of merit the final three days, and was merely a spectator to history on Sunday. -- Joel Beall

Winner -- Matt Kuchar

Call it overly provincial, but the one thing missing from this successful Olympic golf competition was a strong push from an American. As it happens, the U.S player who threw himself into the mix was the guy who, a little more than a week earlier, wasn't even sure of the Olympic golf format. Kuchar knows it now. With a closing 63, he made a run at a gold medal but still secured bronze at 13 under. For a player who has seven PGA Tour wins, including a Players Championship, an argument could be made Kuchar's third-place showing in Rio was the most impressive finish of his career. “I can assure you I’ve never been so excited to finish in the top three in my life," Kuchar said. "I can’t explain to you the pride I feel just burning out of my chest. It’s something I haven’t felt before." -- Sam Weinman

Winner -- Patrick Reed

One of the tournament favorites, Reed failed to medal, but he can leave Rio with his head high. After struggling through the first three days, the 26 year old finished strong, turning in one of the best Sunday rounds with a seven-under 64. Though he hasn't won in 2016, Reed is second on the PGA Tour in top 10s and has finished in the top 15 in four straight competitions. Don't be surprised if he makes some noise in this year's FedEx Cup. -- JB

Loser -- Bubba Watson

After a shaky opening round, Bubba righted the ship with back-to-back 67s to put himself in contention to medal on Sunday. Yet, against harmless pin positions and benign weather that allowed a third of the field to go low, Watson couldn't muster a charge of his own, seemingly stuck in neutral. The final result was a disappointing 70, leaving Watson in a tie for eighth. -- JB

Winner -- Thomas Pieters

Pieters' final-round 65 at Rio certainly elevated his international profile. The former University of Illinois star is playing on the European Tour and entered the week 16th in Ryder Cup points, so he'd be a surprise captain's pick at this point. Aside from his third-round 77, Pieters showed off his firepower with rounds of 67-66-65 -- just shy of an Olympic medal but enough to prove his worth as a European Ryder Cup player in the future. -- SH

Loser -- Emiliano Grillo

It was already a tough Olympic week for Grillo, having received his clubs three days before the golf competition started after getting lost in international transit. Grillo entered the final round tied for fourth at six under, six strokes back of leader Justin Rose and three back of Marcus Fraser in third place. Playing in the penultimate group, Grillo failed to take advantage of good scoring conditions, shooting a one-under 70. He finished tied for eighth. -- Pat Kiernan

Winner -- Sergio Garcia

Garcia entered the final round as a postscript, miles behind the leaders at two under. He was far from an afterthought on Sunday, aggressively navigating the Olympic course to the tune of a 5-under 66. It didn't grab Garcia a spot on the medal stand, but his performance alongside Rafa Cabrera-Bello gave Spain a commendable showing in golf's return to the Summer Games. -- JB

Loser -- Players that skipped Rio

Brazilian Adilson da Silva cried after hitting his opening tee shot. Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson had more fun watching other sports and hanging with athletes than they had on the course. And Johnny Miller reported he didn’t see one mosquito in Rio. In short, some of the big names who didn’t come to Rio are probably having second thoughts -- especially if they follow those who did on social media. But at least, there’s always next year. Oh, right. Make that, there’s always 2020. -- AM

Winner -- Olympic course

Arguably the only thing people felt certain about heading into the Olympic men’s golf competition was that the Rio course, designed by Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott and maintained by superintendent Neil Cleverly, would provide a picturesque and dramatic venue to host the sport’s return to the Games. Impressively, the course didn’t just live up to its pre-tournament hype, but exceeded it. While the winds never picked up to a pace that made the course show what Hanse described as its true teeth, the 16-under winning score was not a sign of a pushover. Rather it was the solid play from Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. And considering the 63 it gave up to Matt Kuchar, well, Troon and Baltusrol yielded similar numbers, and that’s pretty good company for a course hosting its first event. -- RH

Winner -- Olympic golf

In the end, months of skepticism and a mass exodus of top-level golfers couldn't compete with the singular drama that only Olympic competition can provide. If it was clear in the expressions of the players contending for gold, it was equally apparent in the frustrated looks from those who knew they'd be left off the podium. Major championships come and go each year, but the opportunity to medal in the first Olympic golf competition in 112 years was almost too much for some players to bear. There will at least be one more Olympic golf tournament in 2020. If this week was any measure, we can only hope it'll be included in the Games well beyond that. -- SW