Jordan Spieth may be ranked No. 1 in the world, but he’s not considering a 2016 Olympic berth locked up just yet.
“There’s six Americans in the top 10, something like that [five, actually], so in my mind I haven’t made the team yet,” Spieth told media before playing in The Barclays this week. “American golf has been unbelievably strong recently. I don’t know I’m secured. … In my mind, I still have to work extremely hard and play at the same level in order to actually make that team. It’s not secured. So, if I were to make that team, that would be incredible.”
Spieth appears to be correct. His berth may not be secured yet, but it’s hard to imagine the 22-year-old Texan not being ranked in the top 15 in the world, and being one of the top four Americans, on the Olympic golf ranking cutoff on July 11.
This year, he won the Masters and U.S. Open, tied for fourth at the British Open and was runner-up at the PGA Championship.
In the world rankings, which is what will determine the 60-man Olympic golf field, majors receive the most weight of tournaments. But recent tournaments weigh more, too, so if Spieth were to miss every cut from now until next July, and four other American men put up strong results, he could in that scenario not qualify for the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years.
If Spieth makes it to Rio, he could live out a childhood dream.
“When I was really young, I always thought of the Olympians that walk in the Opening Ceremonies,” he said. “That was like, you’re the greatest athletes in the world type of thing. And once I chose golf, or once I realized I certainly wasn’t going to be there for any other sport, I didn’t think it would ever be a reality [until golf was re-added to the Olympics in 2009, starting in 2016]. But still, obviously, the most watched sporting event in the world. So I thought that the interest is so high, and to be able to be one of those athletes would be something I’d never forget that ceremony, that walk, walking with the American flag there.”
The Olympic golf tournament is four rounds that finishes on Sunday, Aug. 14, the ninth day of the Olympics. The Opening Ceremony is Friday, Aug. 5, which is the date of the second round of the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship. Spieth did not play in this year’s Travelers Championship.