Two-year rankings window begins for Olympic hopefuls

July 11, 2014, 12 p.m. (ET)

USA golf bag

By Ian Shogren, PGATOUR.COM

The two-year scoring window to determine the golf participants for the 2016 Olympic Games is now open. The two year-window ends with rankings that will be posted on July 11, 2016.

With golf returning to the Olympics after a 112-year absence, here is a closer look at the qualification system, tournament, and course.

Qualification: A new ranking system will be used to select the field of 60 men and 60 women that will compete for gold. These rankings will use a variation of the Official World Golf Rankings (male) and Rolex Rankings (female). Starting with events played during the weekend of July 17, 2014, players will accumulate points in a two-year window in order to qualify for the Olympics.

Based on the rankings at the end of the two-year time period, the top 15 will qualify for the tournament, although there will a maximum of four players from any country. After the top 15, the highest-ranked players will qualify, with a maximum of two golfers from each country that hasn’t filled the two-player maximum, until the field of 60 is full. As host country, Brazil is assured at least one player in both competitions. At least 30 countries are expected to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic golf competition.

Based on the rankings at the start of the two-year window, the USA is the only country that would place the maximum number of participants (4) in each field. Americans hold four of the top-10 spots in both the Official World Golf Rankings and the Rolex Rankings.

On the men’s side, the current Olympic team would consist of: Bubba Watson (3), Matt Kuchar (4), Tiger Woods (7), and Jordan Spieth (10). The women’s team would consist of Stacy Lewis (1), Lexi Thompson (5), Michelle Wie (6), and Cristie Kerr (10).  See links below for the latest rankings.

Tournament: Both fields will participate in a 72-hole individual stroke competition. In the event of a tie for any of the medal positions, a three-hole playoff will be used to determine the winner.

Course:  A brand-new golf course is currently under construction in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games. The Rio de Janeiro Olympic Organizing Committee selected U.S.- based Hanse Golf Course Design to construct the venue. Following the Games, the course will be a public facility with the goal of developing golf in Brazil.

For the men, the rankings rely on the Official World Golf Ranking. Here is the latest list of top Americans.

For the women, the rankings rely on the Rolex Rankings.

Click here for the latest Rolex Rankings