Your (Potential) 2016 Rio Olympics Golf Field

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As we edge closer to this year’s U.S. Open, and to the return of golf to the Olympics in 2016, we at OlympicTalk wish to once again bring you the potential field of Rio Olympics men’s golfers.

In the 60-man Rio field, rules dictate that the first fifteen golfers are determined by their spot in the world golf rankings regardless of nationality. After that, every eligible nation gets a max of two golfers, so long as those two spots aren’t already taken by athletes in the top fifteen. So in the case of Team USA, which would send six golfers, you better be high to very high in the rankings. As for Venezuela, just being No. 334 in the world would been enough to get you into the field. Also, as the host, Brazil automatically gets two spots, which will likely bump someone.

The current list also highlights how important Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell’s decision to play for either Great Britain or Ireland might be on the field. This list assumes they’ll play for Great Britain. But since both are in the top-fifteen, if they played for Ireland then the spots occupied by Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry would be given to another country further down the list.

Here’s the list as it stands based on this week’s World Golf Rankings:

1. Tiger Woods, USA
2. Rory McIlroy, Great Britain
3. Adam Scott, Australia
4. Matt Kuchar, USA
5. Justin Rose, Great Britain
6. Luke Donald, Great Britain
7. Brandt Snedeker, USA
8. Graeme McDowell, Great Britain
9. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa
10. Phil Mickelson, USA
11. Lee Westwood, Great Britain
12. Keegan Bradley, USA
13. Steve Stricker, USA
14. Charl Schwartzel, South Africa
15. Sergio Garcia, Spain

16. (23) Peter Hanson, Sweden
17. (25) Matteo Manassero, Italy
18. (26) Jason Day, Australia
19. (33) Henrik Stenson, Sweden
20. (34) Martin Kaymer, Germany
21. (35) Thorbjorn Olesen, Denmark
22. (38) Francesco Molinari, Italy
23. (41) Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, Spain
24. (46) Nicolas Colsaerts, Belgium
25. (52) Thongchai Jaidee, Thailand
26. (58) Marcel Siem, Germany
27. (59) Angel Cabrera, Argentina
28. (62) Bernd Wiesberger, Austria
29. (64) Hideki Matsuyama, Japan
30. (66) Mikko Ilonen, Finland
31. (70) Padraig Harrington, Ireland
32. (72) Hiroyuki Fujita, Japan
33. (73) Thomas Bjorn, Denmark
34. (75) Brendon de Jonge, Zimbabwe
35. (81) Bae Sang-moon, Korea
36. (83) Shane Lowry, Ireland
37. (87) Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Thailand
38. (96) Joost Luiten, Holland
39. (98) K.J. Choi, Korea
40. (105) Graham Delaet, Canada
41. (111) Raphael Jacquelin, France
42. (118) Victor Dubuisson, France
43. (123) Gaganjeet Bhullar, India
44. (126) Felipe Aguilar, Chile
45. (136) Vijay Singh, Fiji
46. (139) Jeev Milkha Singh, India
47. (150) Ricardo Santos, Portugal
48. (157) Liang Wen-chong, China
49. (169) Juvic Pagunsan, Philippines
50. (170) Michael Hendry, New Zealand (50)
51. (193) David Hearn, Canada
52. (194) Wu Ashun, China
53. (209) Andres Romero, Argentina
54. (240) Siddikur Rahman, Bangladesh
55. (246) Camilo Villegas, Colombia
56. (253) Adilson da Silva, Brazil
57. (260) Espen Kofstad, Norway
58. (321) Tim Sluiter, Netherlands
59. (334) Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela
60. (353) Alexandre Rocha, Brazil

However, if Rory and McDowell sign up with Ireland:
57. (334) Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela
58. (341) Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, Mexico
59. (353) Alexandre Rocha, Brazil
60. (355) Antonio Lascuna, Philippines

Novak Djokovic rolls at French Open; top women escape

Novak Djokovic
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Novak Djokovic began what could be a march to his 18th Grand Slam title, sweeping Swede Mikael Ymer 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 in the French Open first round on Tuesday.

The top seed Djokovic lost just seven points in the first set. He gets Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis in the second round in a half of the draw that includes no other man with French Open semifinal experience.

Djokovic had plenty going for him into Roland Garros, seeking to repeat his 2016 run to the title. The chilly weather is similar to four years ago.

“I don’t like usually comparing the years,” he said. “But I think [the conditions are] quite suitable to my style of the game.”

As is Djokovic’s form. His only loss in 2020 was when he was defaulted at the U.S. Open for hitting a ball in anger that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Djokovic got a break with the draw when No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem was put in No. 2 Rafael Nadal‘s half. The Serbian also won his clay-court tune-up event in Rome, where he received warnings in back-to-back matches for breaking a racket and uttering an obscenity.

“I don’t think that [the linesperson incident] will have any significant negative impact on how I feel on the tennis court,” Djokovic said before Roland Garros. “I mean, I won the tournament in Rome just a week later after what happened in New York.

“I really want to be my best version as a player, as a human being on the court, and win a tennis match. Because of the care that I have for that, I sometimes express my emotions in good way or maybe less good way.”

If Djokovic can lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires two Sundays from now, he will move within two of Roger Federer‘s career Slams record. Also notable: He would keep Nadal from tying Federer’s record and head into the Australian Open in January, his signature Slam, with a chance to match Nadal at 19.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Earlier Tuesday, No. 2 Karolina Pliskova and No. 4 Sofia Kenin each needed three sets to reach the second round.

The Czech Pliskova rallied past Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif 6-7 (9), 6-2, 6-4. Pliskova, the highest-ranked player without a major title, next gets 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

“Let’s not talk about my level [of play],” Pliskova said. “I think there is big room for improvement.”

Kenin, the American who won the Australian Open in February, outlasted Russian Liudmila Samsonova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

“It doesn’t matter how you win — ugly, pretty, doesn’t matter,” Kenin said on Tennis Channel.

She gets Romanian Ana Bogdan in the second round. Only one other seed — No. 14 Elena Rybakina — is left in Kenin’s section en route to a possible quarterfinal.

American Jen Brady, who made a breakthrough run to the U.S. Open semifinals, was beaten by Danish qualifier Clara Tauson  6-4, 3-6, 9-7.

Sam Querrey nearly made it eight American men into the second round, serving for the match in the third set. But he succumbed to 13th-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4, 6-3. It’s still the best first-round showing for U.S. men since nine advanced in 1996.

The second round begins Wednesday, highlighted by Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal.

MORE: Halep, Comaneci and the genesis of a Romanian friendship

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U.S. men off to best French Open start in 24 years

Sebastian Korda
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The last time U.S. men started this well at the French Open, Sebastian Korda wasn’t alive and his dad had yet to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Eight American men are into the second round at Roland Garros, the largest contingent in the last 64 since 1996. It could have been nine, had Sam Querrey served out the match in the third set against 13th seed Andrey Rublev of Russia.

Still, the U.S. has more men in the second round than any other nation. Astonishing, given U.S. men went a collective 1-9 at the 2019 French Open.

Back in 1996, nine American men won first-round matches. That group included Pete SamprasAndre AgassiJim Courier and Michael Chang (in Sampras’ deepest run in Paris, to the semifinals).

Clay has long been kryptonite for this generation of Americans — the last U.S. man to make a Roland Garros quarterfinal was Agassi in 2003.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

This group includes veterans like Jack Sock, who swept countryman Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 on Monday. Sock, 28, was once ranked eighth in the world.

He then dropped out of the rankings entirely, missing time due to injury and going 10 months between tour-level match wins. He’s now at No. 310 and preparing to play No. 3 Dominic Thiem in the second round.

“A pretty horrific two years in a row,” Sock said. “I’m not opposed to silencing some haters after the last couple years I’ve gone through. I’ve read and seen enough of it, heard enough of it. I’m kind of ready to reestablish myself out there, let people know that I’m back.”

Then there’s 35-year-old John Isner, the big server who swept a French wild card in round one. Isner, the highest seeded U.S. man at No. 21, has posted some decent Roland Garros results, reaching the fourth round three times.

There are new faces, too. Taylor Fritz is seeded 27, aged 22 and in an open section of the draw to make his first Grand Slam fourth round.

On Sunday, 20-year-old Korda became the youngest U.S. man to win a French Open main-draw match since an 18-year-old Andy Roddick beat Chang in 2001.

He is the son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda and brother of the world’s second- and 22nd-ranked female golfers (Nelly and Jessica).

So far, Sebastian’s biggest feats: winning the 2018 Australian Open junior title and, in his only golf tournament, beating both of his sisters when he was 11. It was around that age that he gave up ice hockey and focused solely on tennis.

Korda was hooked after watching a Czech whom his dad coached, Radek Stepanek, at the U.S. Open in 2009.

“He played Djokovic on [Arthur] Ashe [Stadium] like at 10:30 at night,” Korda, nicknamed Sebi, said on Tennis Channel. “Completely packed. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I went home, and I was like, this is exactly what I want to do.”

An American man is already guaranteed to make the third round in Paris. Korda faces Isner on Thursday.

“I grew up on the clay,” Korda said, “so I know how to play on it a little bit.”

MORE: Halep, Comaneci and the genesis of a Romanian friendship

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