2016 Olympic Golf Preview

Rio 2016 LogoThe 2016 Olympics in Rio are just under a year away, and the golf world is already buzzing with the excitement of the addition of the sport to the rotation of events. Golf has not been an Olympic sport in 112 years, and is beyond overdue for inclusion in the spotlight of the world’s games. Excitement aside, many are still wondering just how qualifying will work, and what the format will be. Formats will be the same for both the men and women’s golf event. For those looking to bet on the Olympics, here is a quick breakdown of who and what to expect to see in Rio.

The field will consist of 60 players from around the world based on rankings calculated by the International Golf Federation. The Top-15 in Official World Golf Rankings as of July 14, 2016 will automatically be eligible for participation. Outside of the Top-15, players will be eligible based on world rankings with countries receiving 2 players if they do not already have 2 or more in the Top-15. Essentially with different qualifications, countries are allowed a maximum of 4-players for the 72-hole event. If the Olympics were to start today, a quick glance at some of the players would look like this:

United States
Jordan Speith, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk

Great Britain
Justin Rose, Danny Willett

Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry

Jason Day, Adam Scott

South Africa
Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace

Graham DeLaet, David Hearn

Martin Kaymer, Marcel Siem

Sergio Garcia, Miguel Angel Jimenez

That’s just a taste. The field is going to be unbelievably talented and determined while being set on a grand stage not seen in over a century. Not only are players going to be battling for a spot in the Olympic games, but this event is also going to coincide with the typical annual fight for the FedEx Cup. And the games are immediately following the PGA Championship. Which is only 2 weeks after the Open Championship. Then, of course 2016 is a Ryder Cup year too.

Holy cow, this is going to be awesome. A year out and we are already looking at an epic battle of the world’s best for the 2 Majors, Olympic Medals, FedEx Cup, and Ryder Cup spots in front of the entire world. 2016 is going to be one hell of year for the game of golf.

What about the golf course? The Olympic Course began construction after some legal battles with protected lands and zoning in Rio de Janeiro but is nearing completion and eyeing a test event later this year in 2015. Designed by Gil Hanse, the course in only days away from being ready for play, and still remains the focus of some local protests regarding land speculation and political favoritism. But those types of stories are old news when it comes to Olympic venues, golf is certainly no exception.

More importantly, after the Olympic closing ceremonies, The Olympic Course will become the ONLY public golf course available in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Olympic event itself should do wonders for instilling interest in the game in Brazil, where golf is largely unpopular and reserved for the elite in the area. Once again golf has been given the world stage as a chance to bring positive influence the lives of youths in yet another corner of the world. If that is not the definition of the Olympic spirit, nothing is.