11th July 2016 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
2016 Olympic Games – It’s Official!
The two-year qualification process for golfâ€™s return to the Olympic Games for the first time in 112 years has been completed with the publication today of the Final Olympic Golf Rankings. Below are the top 15 qualifiers for the Womenâ€™s Competition, who could be lining it up with South Africaâ€™s Paula Reto and Ashleigh Simon in Rio this August.
1 Lydia Ko (New Zealand)
2 Brooke Henderson (Canada)
3 Inbee Park (Republic of Korea)
4 Lexi Thompson (United States)
5 Sei Young Kim (Republic of Korea)
6 Amy Yang (Republic of Korea)
7 Ariya Jutanugarn (Thailand)
8 In Gee Chun (Republic of Korea)
9 Stacy Lewis (United States)
10 Anna Nordqvist (Sweden)
11 Shanshan Feng (China)
12 Minjee Lee (Australia)
13 Gerina Piller (United States)
14 Suzann Pettersen (Norway)
15 Harukyo Nomura (Japan)
With no fewer than 40 countries included in the Final Rankings across the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s competitions, to be played at Reserva de Marapendi Golf Course between August 11 and 20, the composition of the Olympic fields will highlight the broad global diversity of the sport in Rio de Janeiro.
Already, the â€˜Olympic effectâ€™ can be witnessed by the increase in the number of National Federations under the umbrella of the International Golf Federation (IGF), which has grown from just over 100 to an all-time high of 147, with opportunities arising for increased support to grow the game.
The Olympic golf competitions, beginning with the men from August 11-14 followed by the women from August 17-20, will be watched by a global audience of around 3.6 billion, representing the ultimate shop-window for the sport and having the capacity to reach a brand new audience, especially among the younger generation across all the continents.
Peter Dawson, President of the International Golf Federation (IGF), said: â€œAfter eight years of intense planning and preparation for golfâ€™s historic return to the Olympic Games, the IGF is extremely excited finally to have reached this important milestone of identifying those players who are eligible to compete in Rio de Janeiro.
â€œWe are particularly gratified to see how many countries are represented among the men and women and anticipate compelling competitions for both on the outstanding golf course that Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott have created. It has taken a tremendous amount of work by many people to get to this stage, and we at the IGF are extremely grateful for the role each and every one of them has played in making this possible.â€
Qualification began on July 14, 2014 and concluded yesterday (Sunday, July 10). The full list of qualifiers confirms the names of the 120 players â€“ 60 male and 60 female who are now eligible to be entered by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in accordance with the qualification criteria.
The IGF will send confirmation of the quota places to the NOCs no later than 17.00 Eastern US time tomorrow (Tuesday, July 12). The NOCs will then confirm use of allocated quota places to the IGF who, in turn, will reallocate all unused quota places before the Rio 2016 Sport Entries Deadline on July 18.
The IGF will publish a further list of 60 names for both the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s events on Monday, July 18, which will provide ratification of all the competitors who will comprise the respective fields at the Olympic Games.
The Final Rankings underline the diversity of the fields who will tee off in Olympic competition next month for the first time in over a century, with a total of 40 countries being represented across both the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s events.
Additionally, every continent is represented in the Rankings, affording golf a unique opportunity to grow the game in unexposed territories and to achieve greater visibility with a potential television audience of 3.6 billion during the Games in Rio. Across the two individual competitions, Africa has four eligible players; Asia 33; Oceania eight; Europe 52; North America 11; South America 12.
Full information on the Qualifying System for the 2016 Olympic Games can be found here:
Photo – Courtesy of the LPGA TourÂ