GET INTO GOLF: How Olympic golfers are chosen
Virtually every sport is unpredictable. The better team can lose on any given Sunday. This, of course, is the rationale for a seven game World Series or NBA Championship.
Your best player could have a poor shooting night or the planets could align for the other team and they make everything.
Golf is no different. On balance, the tour players must complete four rounds, 72 holes, in order to determine the events best golfer.
When speaking of match play championships, Bobby Jones, said that one round was too short, “anything can happen in 18 holes.”
Most players are not equally proficient at ‘long game’ (ball striking) and ‘short game,’ All of us will typically have a better side to their game. Some of us feel we are really good at putting or chipping, while others may strike the ball very well and feel a few butterflies over those putts.
One day we make putts, the next day we hit fairways, if only we could get both to happen on the same day.
Another aspect specific to golf is the change of venue or weather conditions. Certain players may calibrate their game better to hot, cold, or wet parts of the seasons. In turn, a coastline golf course may be more attractive to some than a mountain terrain.
So, it makes sense for the World Golf Rankings to be based on the timing of the tournament, the weight of the event (ie…is it a Major?) and the quality of the field.
The reason we bring this to mind today is the 2020 Olympic Games. Tokyo is host to what is officially known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad.
Golf returned to the Games in 2016 with Justin Rose winning the Gold Medal.
In 2020, qualifying will stay the same with 60 players earning their way based on the aforementioned World Golf Rankings (WGR).
We will dive into this some more next week, but here is a quick summary. Again, based on WGR, the top 60 players are invited. There is a maximum number of players per country, but the Olympic committee also guarantees at least one competitor from each continent and the host country. Although most of us don’t frequently check the WGR, alongside things like the Dow Jones or the upcoming weather report. What we hear almost every week is the FedEx standings. This is great info for those who primarily play the PGA Tour.
Yet, as we start to see Olympic sports get more television time (gymnastics and track and field) it will be interesting to see how golf’s global field shapes up.
John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.
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