Michelle Wie‘s breakthrough U.S. Women’s Open win has no bearing on if she makes the U.S. Olympic Golf Team in 2016, but it emphasizes how tough it will be for any American golfer to reach Rio de Janeiro in two years.
The men’s and women’s fields for the 2016 Olympic golf tournaments are set to include 60 players each. Everybody in the top 15 of the world rankings will be eligible up to four per country.
After that, the field will be filled by the next highest-ranked players with a maximum of two players per nation.
The world rankings are determined by results over a two-year rolling period. The Olympic golf tournaments fields will be determined by rankings on July 11, 2016.
So, Wie’s rankings points gained from her first major title at Pinehurst will have vanished by the cutoff date.
Wie improved four spots to No. 7 in the world on Monday. If the Olympic golf field was chosen today, she would make it as the No. 3 American (behind world No. 1 Stacy Lewis and No. 5 Lexi Thompson).
The Olympic women’s golf field will have to dig several hundred spots into the world rankings to fill out with golfers from weak golf nations. But it appears Wie must remain in the top 15 to have a shot at automatic qualification for the deep U.S.
The next U.S. women ranked behind her are Cristie Kerr (11), Paula Creamer (12) and Lizette Salas (13). Since only four women from one country can make the Olympics, Creamer and Salas would not qualify for Rio today.
Wie was in Olympic qualifying position in July 2011, and then went nearly three years out of the zone until jumping back in the U.S. top four on May 26.
In that down stretch, Wie was named an ambassador for the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, from Aug. 16-28. At the time of the October 2013 Youth Olympics announcement, she was ranked No. 64 in the world and 13th among Americans.