Tokyo Olympics: Lydia Ko, Ryan Fox confirmed as NZ golf contingent for Games

Rio silver medallist Lydia Ko and Ryan Fox have been confirmed as New Zealand's golf contingent for the Tokyo Olympics, starting this month.

The top-ranked Kiwi golfers both contested the sport's Olympic return five years ago, when Ko finished five strokes behind Korean star Inbee Park and Fox placed 39th equal at one over par. 

"I'm super excited for the Tokyo Olympics," says Ko. "I'm super stoked to be able to represent New Zealand again.

"I always feel very proud to be able to fly the New Zealand flag and to have the opportunity to represent New Zealand on a stage where all the best athlete are competing is a huge honour."

After turning pro as a teenager and holding the world No.1 spot for 84 weeks, Ko's play fell away for several years, but has shown glimpses of returning to her very best during 2021.

Her brilliant final-round 62 at the ANA Inspiration left her two strokes short of her third LPGA Major title in April.

Later that month, she broke a three-year title drought, with victory at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii. Ko is currently ranked 10th in the world.

Meanwhile, Fox - son of All Black legend Grant Fox - is ranked 182nd among the men, with 12 professional wins to his name, including the 2019 World Super 6 title at Perth on the European Tour.

"I grew up in a family where representing New Zealand was the highest honour," says the 34-year-old. "Golf doesn't necessarily give you that many chances.

"I obviously represent New Zealand week in, week out on the European Tour, but I feel like I'm playing more for myself.

"At the Olympics, you are completely representing New Zealand. It's a great honour and I've only done it a couple of times in my career.

"Rio 2016, the World Cup of Golf and the Eisenhower Trophy are probably the only opportunities I felt like I was representing New Zealand. It's something I cherish doing and it's cool to be able to do that again this year."

The men's Olympic tournament begins on July 29 at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, with the women commencing August 4.