What Rio Olympic golf fields would look like with year-end rankings

Rory McIlroy
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The Rio Olympic golf fields won’t be determined until July 2016, but it’s always fun to project.

The men’s and women’s fields are set to include a maximum of 60 players each. Everybody in the top 15 of the world rankings come July 2016 will be eligible, up to four per country.

After that, the fields will be filled by the next highest-ranked players with a maximum of two players per nation.

World golf rankings are made up of a two-year window of players’ results, weighing recent results and bigger tournaments more heavily. Therefore, the rankings in July 2016, from which the Olympic fields will be determined, will mostly include yet-to-be-played tournament results.

Tiger Woods would not make the Olympic golf field if the current, year-end rankings hold. He is No. 32, down from No. 1 one year ago and 17th among Americans. It is his lowest ranking since Nov. 26, 2011.

Woods is the first player to drop outside the top 20 after being year-end No. 1 the previous year. The Official World Golf Ranking debuted in 1986.

Phil Mickelson (No. 14, seventh among Americans), Ernie Els (No. 63, fourth among South Africans) and the British trio of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald would also NOT qualify.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, who turns 51 on Jan. 5, would make it. As would Fiji’s Vijay Singh, barely, as the 57th out of 60 golfers. Singh turns 52 on Feb. 22.

Singh and top-ranked Rory McIlroy are the only players with more than two major championships who would make the field off today’s rankings.

The last player to make the men’s field under today’s rankings would be Colombian Marcelo Rozo, who is No. 366 in the world.

The last player to make the women’s field would be Indian Gauri Monga, who is No. 447. There are 137 South Korean women ranked ahead of Monga.

Brazil is guaranteed at least one spot in the men’s and women’s fields, so the lowest-ranked women’s player is currently Brazilian Miriam Nagl, who is No. 570.

Here’s what the men’s and women’s fields would look like if using the year-end 2014 rankings:

Men
1. Rory McIlroy (IRL)
2. Henrik Stenson (SWE)
3. Adam Scott (AUS)
4. Bubba Watson (USA)
5. Sergio Garcia (ESP)
6. Justin Rose (GBR)
7. Jim Furyk (USA)
8. Jason Day (AUS)
9. Jordan Spieth (USA)
10. Rickie Fowler (USA)
11. Martin Kaymer (GER)
12. Graeme McDowell (IRL)
13. Hideki Matsuyama (JPN)
14. Victor Dubuisson (FRA)
15. Jamie Donaldson (GBR)
16. Joost Luiten (NED)
17. Charl Schwartzel (RSA)
18. Thomas Bjorn (DEN)
19. Thongchai Jaidee (THA)
20. Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP)
21. Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)
22. Mikko Ilonen (FIN)
23. Alexander Levy (FRA)
24. Francesco Molinari (ITA)
25. Koumei Oda (JPN)
26. Graham Delaet (CAN)
27. Jonas Blixt (SWE)
28. Marcel Siem (GER)
29. Anirban Lahiri (IND)
30. Bernd Wiesberger (AUT)
31. Angel Cabrera (ARG)
32. Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN)
33. Brendon de Jonge (ZIM)
34. Bae Song-moon (KOR)
35. Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR)
36. Edoardo Molinari (ITA)
37. Noh Seung-yul (KOR)
38. David Hearn (CAN)
39. Emiliano Grillo (ARG)
40. Prom Meesawat (THA)
41. Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL)
42. Carlos Ortiz (MEX)
43. Camilo Villegas (COL)
44. Antonio Lascuna (PHI)
45. Felipe Aguilar (CHI)
46. Liang Wen-chong (CHN)
47. Wu Ashun (CHN)
48. Rashid Khan (IND)
49. Robert-Jan Derksen (NED)
50. Danny Lee (NZL)
51. Angelo Que (PHI)
52. Siddikur Rahman (BAN)
53. Thomas Pieters (BEL)
54. Mark Tullo (CHI)
55. Chan Shih-chang (TPE)
56. Ryan Fox (NZL)
57. Vijay Singh (FIJ)
58. Jhonattan Vegas (VEN)
59. Adison da Silva (BRA)
60. Marcelo Rozo (COL)

Women
1. Inbee Park (KOR)
2. Lydia Ko (NZL)
3. Stacy Lewis (USA)
4. Suzann Pettersen (NOR)
5. Shanshan Feng (CHN)
6. Michelle Wie (USA)
7. So Yeon Ryu (KOR)
8. Hyo-Joo Kim (KOR)
9. Karrie Webb (AUS)
10. Lexi Thompson (USA)
11. Kyu Jung Baek (KOR)
12. Anna Nordqvist (SWE)
13. Cristie Kerr (USA)
14. Azahara Munoz (ESP)
15. Pomanong Phatlum (THA)
16. Catriona Matthew (GBR)
17. Lee-Anne Pace (RSA)
18. Teresa Lu (TPE)
19. Julieta Granada (PAR)
20. Charley Hull (GBR)
21. Shiho Oyama (JPN)
22. Karine Icher (FRA)
23. Carlota Ciganda (ESP)
24. Sakura Yokomine (JPN)
25. Sandra Gal (GER)
26. Caroline Masson (GER)
27. Caroline Hedwall (SWE)
28. Gwladys Nocera (FRA)
29. Line Hansen (DEN)
30. Minjee Lee (AUS)
31. Xiyu Lin (CHN)
32. Yani Tseng (TPE)
33. Mariajo Uribe (COL)
34. Stephanie Meadow (IRL)
35. Onnarin Sattayabanphot (THA)
36. Dewi Schreefel (NED)
37. Stacy Bregman (RSA)
38. Malene Jorgensen (DEN)
39. Giulia Sergas (ITA)
40. Christel Boeljon (NED)
41. Klara Spilkova (CZE)
42. Diana Luna (ITA)
43. Jennifer Rosales (PHI)
44. Brooke Henderson (CAN)
45. Alejandra Llaneza (MEX)
46. Kelly Tan (MAS)
47. Lisa McCloskey (COL)
48. Maria Balikoeva (RUS)
49. Alena Sharp (CAN)
50. Paz Echeverria (CHI)
51. Fabienne In-Albon (SUI)
52. Noora Tamminen (FIN)
53. Minea Blomqvist (FIN)
54. Marianne Skapnord (NOR)
55. Veronica Felilbert (VEN)
56. Christine Wolf (AUT)
57. Chloe Leurquin (BEL)
58. Margarita Ramos (MEX)
59. Gauri Monga (IND)
60. Miriam Nagl (BRA)

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”

Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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