Michelle Wie

Who’s in, who’s out: Olympic golf qualifying picture at halfway point

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It’s British Open week, and this time next year at the start of the major tournament, we will know the qualifiers for the first Olympic golf fields since 1904.

The Rio 2016 golf fields — 60 men and 60 women — will come from the world golf rankings on July 11, 2016. The world golf rankings are made up of results from the previous two years of tournaments.

Therefore, half of the Olympic golf qualifying tournaments have already been played going into the 2015 British Open.

Who would make the 2016 Olympic golf fields based on the current world rankings? Scroll down.

Some notables are the oldest man — three-time major champion Vijay Singh, of Fiji, who is 52 — and the lowest-ranked man, Chilean Mark Tullo, ranked No. 321 overall.

Who wouldn’t make it? Billy Horschel (No. 11 among Americans), Phil Mickelson (No. 12 among Americans) and Tiger Woods (No. 84 among Americans) are not even close. A nation can’t have more than four men or women in the Olympic golf field (and no more than two if at least one of them is outside the top 15 in the world rankings).

If Horschel or Mickelson were from any country other than the U.S. or Australia, they would make the Olympic field if based on today’s rankings.

If Woods could pick any country not already qualified to represent, he would rank in at No. 55 in the field of 60, still making the field, barely, despite his recent rankings free fall.

On the women’s side, Michelle Wie would be the top American not to qualify, at No. 17 overall and fifth among Americans. If Wie represented any country other than the U.S. or South Korea, she would make it.

Seven-time major champion Juli Inkster, who is 55 years old and ranked No. 110, would slot in at No. 37 in the field of 60 if she represented a not-already-qualified nation.

Cheyenne Woods, who is Tiger Woods’ niece, is ranked 40th among Americans and No. 279 overall. She appears to have little chance of making the Olympics, but if she was representing a not-already-qualified nation, she would fit in the women’s field of 60 at No. 48 (higher than her uncle in the men’s field).

Then there’s former No. 1 Lorena Ochoa of Mexico. Ochoa retired five years ago but is still just 33 years old. She has said she is not tempted to come back for golf’s return to the Olympics, but if she reconsidered, her path to Rio de Janeiro would not be that difficult. Ochoa would only have to be ranked No. 414 to make the Olympic golf field if it was chosen based off today’s rankings.

Men
1. Rory McIlroy (IRL — 1)
2. Jordan Speith (USA — 1)
3. Bubba Watson (USA — 2)
4. Dustin Johnson (USA — 3)
5. Rickie Fowler (USA — 4)
6. Henrik Stenson (SWE — 1)
7. Justin Rose (GBR — 1)
8. Jason Day (AUS — 1)
9. Sergio Garcia (ESP — 1)
10. Adam Scott (AUS — 2)
11. Hideki Matsuyama (JPN — 1)
12. Louis Oosthuizen (RSA — 1)
13. Martin Kaymer (GER — 1)
14. Bernd Wiesberger (AUT — 1)
15. Paul Casey (GBR — 2)
16. Branden Grace (RSA — 2)
17. Thongchai Jaidee (THA — 1)
18. Victor Dubuisson (FRA — 1)
19. Francesco Molinari (ITA — 1)
20. Shane Lowry (IRL — 2)
21. Joost Luiten (NED — 1)
22. Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP — 2)
23. Byeong Hun An (KOR — 1)
24. Anirban Lahiri (IND — 1)
25. Alexander Levy (FRA — 2)
26. David Lingmerth (SWE — 2)
27. Danny Lee (NZL — 1)
28. Soren Kjeldsen (DEN — 1)
29. Graham Delaet (CAN — 1)
30. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA — 2)
31. Hiroshi Iwata (JPN — 2)
32. Marcel Siem (GER — 2)
33. Thomas Bjorn (DEN — 2)
34. Emiliano Grillo (ARG — 1)
35. Mikko Ilonen (FIN — 1)
36. Sangmoon Bae (KOR — 2)
37. Brendon de Jonge (ZIM — 1)
38. David Hearn (CAN — 2)
39. Angel Cabrera (ARG — 2)
40. Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR — 1)
41. Li Haotong (CHN — 1)
42. Carlos Ortiz (MEX — 1)
43. Wu Ashun (CHN — 2)
44. Ricardo Gouveia (POR — 1)
45. Camilo Villegas (COL — 1)
46. S.S.P Chawrasia (IND — 2)
47. Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL — 1)
48. Edoardo Molinari (ITA — 2)
49. Vijay Singh (FIJ — 1)
50. Ryan Fox (NZL — 2)
51. Angelo Que (PHI — 1)
52. Felipe Aguilar (CHI — 1)
53. Thomas Pieters (BEL — 1)
54. Mardan Mamat (SIN — 1)
55. Antonio Lascuna (PHI — 2)
56. Chan Shih-chang (TPE — 1)
57. Jhonattan Vegas (VEN — 1)
58. Adilson da Silva (BRA — 1) *Brazil automatically gets one golfer in the field
59. Siddikur Rahman (BAN — 1)
60. Mark Tullo (CHI — 2) — *No. 321 overall.

Women
1. Inbee Park (KOR — 1)
2. Lydia Ko (NZL — 1)
3. Stacy Lewis (USA — 1)
4. Hyo-Joo Kim (KOR — 2)
5. Suzann Pettersen (NOR — 1)
6. So Yeon Ryu (KOR — 3)
7. Shanshan Fang (CHN — 1)
8. Anna Nordqvist (SWE — 1)
9. Amy Yang (KOR — 4)
10. Brittany Lincicome (USA — 2)
11. Lexi Thompson (USA — 4)
12. Cristie Kerr (USA — 3)
13. Minjee Lee (AUS — 1)
14. Karrie Webb (AUS — 2)
15. Azahara Munoz (ESP — 1)
16. Teresa Lu (TPE — 1)
17. Brooke Henderson (CAN — 1)
18. Pornanong Phatlum (THA — 1)
19. Julieta Granada (PAR — 1)
20. Shiho Oyama (JPN — 1)
21. Sandra Gal (GER — 1)
22. Catriona Matthew (GBR — 1)
23. Carlota Ciganda (ESP — 2)
24. Momoko Ueda (JPN — 2)
25. Charley Hull (GBR — 2)
26. Ariya Jutanugarn (THA — 2)
27. Karine Ircher (FRA — 1)
28. Lee-Anne Pace (RSA — 1)
29. Mariajo Uribe (COL — 1)
30. Caroline Masson (GER — 2)
31. Gwladys Nocera (FRA — 2)
32. Pernilla Lindberg (SWE — 2)
33. Christel Boeljon (NED — 1)
34. Yani Tseng (TPE — 2)
35. Xiyu Lin (CHN — 2)
36. Line Vedel Hansen (DEN — 1)
37. Stephanie Meadow (IRL — 1)
38. Marianne Skarpnord (NOR — 2)
39. Paula Reto (RSA — 2)
40. Kelly Tan (MAS — 1)
41. Nicole Larsen (DEN — 2)
42. Dewi Claire Schreefel (NED — 2)
43. Alena Sharp (CAN — 2)
44. Ursula Wikstrom (FIN — 1)
45. Fabienne In-Albon (SUI — 1)
46. Klara Splikova (CZE — 1)
47. Giulia Sergas (ITA — 1)
48. Diana Luna (ITA — 2)
49. Alejandra Llaneza (MEX — 1)
50. Christine Wolf (AUT — 1)
51. Maria Balikoeva (RUS — 1)
52. Noora Tamminen (FIN — 2)
53. Paz Echeverria (CHI — 1)
54. Michelle Koh (MAS — 2)
55. Leona Maguire (IRL — 2)
56. Jennifer Rosales (PHI — 1)
57. Lisa McCloskey (COL — 1)
58. Chloe Leurquin (BEL — 1)
59. Laetitia Beck (ISR — 1) *No. 414 overall
60. Victoria Lovelady (BRA — 1) *No. 649 overall; Brazil is guaranteed one automatic spot.

Michelle Wie: Olympics may be more important than majors

Michelle Wie
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RYE, N.Y. — Michelle Wie said next year’s first Olympic golf tournament since 1904 is “definitely the same caliber, maybe even more important” than LPGA major championships.

Wie is world ranked No. 13 and would not qualify for the Rio 2016 Games if the current rankings hold through the Olympic rankings cutoff date in a little more than one year.

That’s because there are four U.S. women ranked ahead of Wie — No. 3 Stacy Lewis, No. 9 Cristie Kerr, No. 10 Brittany Lincicome and No. 11 Lexi Thompson. No more than four women from one nation ranked inside the top 15 can play in the Olympics.

Wie doesn’t mind the eligibility format that will allow golfers ranked into the 200s and probably lower into the Olympics but will almost surely keep out all American and South Korean women ranked outside the top 15.

“I think that’s the whole point about the Olympics,” Wie said ahead of the KMPG Women’s PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club on Tuesday (Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 1-4 p.m. ET; NBC, Saturday-Sunday, 3-6). “It’s such a prestigious event, happens [every] four years. … You’ve got to make the top four. That’s the most important thing. That’s my priority for the next two years is to make the team. I’m going to do everything I can to do that. And you know, fortunately, I have some time to make the team, so I’m going to try to do my best this week and every single week. Rankings [are] one of those things that you can’t worry too much about. You have to focus on playing well; and if you play well and do the correct steps, then the rankings will take care of themselves.”

Wie’s current ranking is most boosted by her 2014 U.S. Women’s Open title, her first major. But the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open results will not factor into the rankings come the Olympic ranking cutoff next summer.

Wie, who hasn’t made a cut since the first weekend of May due to a left hip injury, must keep strong form this year and, more importantly, in the first half of 2016.

This year, Wie has a best finish of tied for 11th in 12 tournaments. Kerr and Lincicome each have one win this season (Lincicome’s a major), Lewis has seven top-10s and Thompson has five top-10s.

Wie traveled to Copenhagen in 2009 to lobby for golf’s Olympic inclusion, visited London during the 2012 Olympics (and met nine-time Olympic medalist track and field athlete Carl Lewis) and was named a Youth Olympic ambassador in 2013.

Wie, who played in a PGA Tour event in 2004 at age 14, has said she watched the Olympics growing up in Hawaii.

“I think that’s such a great thing about the Olympics; you end up watching sports that are not really covered on TV a lot of times,” Wie said. “Swimming was also one of my favorites. I love watching ping-pong.”

Hall of Fame golfer wants to coach, not play in 2016 Olympics

Olympic golf selection ranking system revealed

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Golf is slated to return to the Olympic stage after a 112-year absence when some of the best players in the world compete in Rio 2016.

How that field of premier players will be selected to compete in Rio is becoming clearer. According to GolfChannel.com, the International Golf Federation will release a new ranking system next week that will utilize the Official World Golf Ranking to determine the 60 golfers who will compete in Brazil.

Here’s how it will work: The top 15 players in the ranking automatically qualify, with a cap of four players from an individual country in that top 15. After that, the highest ranking golfers will selected, but with a cap of just two from an individual country. The system seems designed to ensure quality while composing a widely international field. It may also leave out some of the world’s best players, particularly Americans.

If Rio 2016 began this week, Team USA would consist of Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, all top-15 players right now, would be out.

The ranking system will be the same for women, but based on the Rolex Rankings. This again could leave highly ranked Americans on the sidelines – if the tournament began today, Paula Creamer, Lizette Salas and Angela Stanford would be out, while Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie and Cristie Kerr would be in.

As the host country, Brazil is guaranteed at least one man and one woman; the men’s and women’s field will also automatically include a minimum of one qualifier from each of the give continents.

According to GolfChannel.com, the way these rankings work means that players ranked as low as 300 among the men, and between 350 and 400 among the women, could qualify for Rio.

Players will begin earning points in this new system starting with next week’s events.

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