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2024 Olympic: Golf Buzz



For the third time in the modern era of the Olympic Games, golf will return as a medal sport in 2024.

This year’s version will take place in France, August 1-4 for the men and August 7-10 for the women. The course will be Le Golf National, just outside of Paris, and the format will be stroke play.

The qualifying for the tournament will be based on Official World Golf Ranking System, which has one of the most complicated formulas ever devised, so rather than explain it in detail let’s say it is a rolling formula over a two-year period in which a player’s points are divided by the number of events he or she has played from various world tours.

There are 60 players in total for both the men’s and women’s competitions. There is a maximum of four players per country, which can be automatically drawn from the AWGR top-15, which favours golf-heavy nations such as the U.S. After that it is two per country chosen by National Olympic Committees.

Several significant men’s players would be ineligible to qualify for this year’s Olympics because they are playing on the LIV Golf circuit and aren’t given points for any of those these tournaments. The reason is these are three-round events instead of the traditional four. The only chance these players can qualify will be based on existing points from last year plus any from the 2024 Masters and 2024 U.S. Open. The deadline for qualifying is June 17, the day after the U.S. Open.

The top LIV Golf player on the OWGR is Spain’s Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X), who is fifth as of this writing, based on points accumulated from last year when he won the Masters and dominated the PGA Tour in the first half of the schedule. He bolted for LIV last December and has been pushing for the events to be four rounds to be eligible for OWGR points.

He missed the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after testing positive for COVID.

England’s Tyrrell Hatton (Titleist Pro V1x), who is 17th at the time of this writing, would qualify for Great Britain under the Games’ format, but he is in danger of being surpassed. Tommy Fleetwood (TaylorMade TP5x) is currently 11th, and Matt Fitzpatrick (Titleist Pro V1x) is 14th.   Both will have more opportunities to collect points in any events they play leading up to the end of the U.S. Open. Justin Rose (Titleist Pro V1), who won the gold medal in 2016 in Rio when golf made its return to the Olympics, is 65th.

Australia’s Cameron Smith (Titleist Pro V1x), another LIV Golf Player, is ranked 55th at the time of this writing. For Smith to qualify, he’d have to place higher than Jason Day (Bridgestone Tour B X), who is ranked 24th and Min Woo Lee (Callaway Chrome Soft X) is 34th. Adam Scott (Titleist Pro V1x) is also a possibility, sitting 53rd. Cameron Davis (Titleist Pro V1x) is 58th and has had spurts this season to suggest he might be able to move into a qualifying spot.

If world number one Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1x) continues to dominate the men’s golf world, he will be the heavy favorite to win. No one is even remotely close to the American in points. This would be the first time for him in the Olympics if he so chooses. He and his wife, Meredith, will have celebrated their first child by then, and might opt not to participate because of family reasons. Scheffler opted not to play in the Wells Fargo Championship, which is a Signature Event and has a $20 million purse. It will also have valuable OWGR points.

The U.S. is stacked with so many players, the only question will be who will join Scheffler if he plays, or who will be the four if he doesn’t? Wyndham Clark (Titleist Pro V1x), ranked third in the world, would be playing for the first time. Fourth-ranked Xander Schauffele (Callaway Chrome Tour) won the gold medal in the 2020 Olympics. Patrick Cantlay (Titleist Pro V1x) is currently ranked eighth overall, followed by Brian Harman (Titleist Pro V1) and Max Homa (Titleist Pro V1). Sahith Theegala (Titleist Pro V1) is 12th, followed by Collin Morikawa (TaylorMade TP5), who tied for fourth in the 2020 Olympics. Cameron Young (Titleist Pro V1) is 16th, Russell Henley (Titleist Pro V1x) is 18th and Keegan Bradley (Srixon Z-Star) 19th.

The choices for a country’s participation are ultimately made by the respective National Olympic Committees.

Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x), who is a shoo-in to represent Ireland, will be looking to earn a medal after losing out in an epic seven-player playoff battle for bronze in 2020. He jokingly said afterward he’s never tried so hard to finish third in his career. Shane Lowry (Srixon Z-Star XV), who combined with McIlroy to win the Zurich Classic, will join McIlroy. They both played in 2020.

France will have Matthieu Pavon (Titleist Pro V1), who has had a strong season in his first year on the PGA Tour, recording five top-five finishes, including a second in the Sony Open. He is ranked 21st. Victor Perez (Titleist Pro V1) is the other top French golfer at this point, ranked 94th.

The women’s side will be led by defending champion Nelly Korda (TaylorMade TP5x), who is absolutely crushing the LPGA Tour. Japan’s Mone Inami (Bridgestone B XS) placed second in 2020, followed by New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (Titleist Pro V1x), who recorded a silver in 2016. Korea’s Inbee Park (Srixon Z-Star) won the event. Korda is so much more dominant now on the LPGA circuit than four years ago. France’s Celine Boutier (Titleist Pro V1x) will have support from her nation. Last year, she became the first French native to win The Amundi Evian Championship, representing her first major. Overall, she won four events, which had her in the running for Golfer of the Year won by Lilia Vu (Titleist Pro V1x), who won two majors among her four victories.

Australia could be a force in this year’s Olympics with Hannah Green (Srixon Z-Star Diamond), who has won two events this year to vault into the top-10 in the OWGR. Minjee Lee (Callaway Chrome Tour X) would be her teammate.

Vu currently holds the other qualifying spot for USA on the women’s side. Both Megan Khang (Titleist Pro V1), Alison Lee (Titleist Pro V1) and Allisen Corpuz (Titleist Pro V1) would also factor into the mix if the U.S., as expected, fields four players.

Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko is an award-winning writer who has published nine books, three of them bestsellers. He has been involved in sports writing for more than 35 years and has interviewed many superstar athletes. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and enjoys watching golf and playing it.

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