Qualifying for golf at Tokyo Olympics gets extended

Louis Oosthuizen and Abraham Ancer (Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen and Abraham Ancer (Getty Images)

The International Golf Federation (IGF) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced an adjustment to the qualifying system after the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced a year-long delay of the Tokyo Games, which is now expected to start on 23 July 2021.

According to a press release by IGF, golfers will now accumulate Olympic Golf Rankings (OGR) points through a period ending on 21 June 2021 for the men and 28 June 2021 for the women.

The field for both men and women will consist of 60 golfers.

The OGR is based on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) for men and the Women's World Golf Rankings (WWGR).

On 20 March, the OWGR and WWGR suspended all rankings due to the Covid-19 crisis.

An announcement about the resumption of each respective ranking will be made in due course.

"Having received from the IOC confirmation of the dates for when the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be held and the qualification principles, the fairest and most equitable way to determine the qualifying athletes was to align the previous qualification system with these new dates," said Antony Scanlon, IGF Executive Director.

The OGR is calculated as follows:

- Each tournament earns a strength-of-field rating which determines how many ranking points will be awarded to top finishers.

- Points are awarded to players based on their finish positions in each event, with performances in stronger-field events earning more points in accordance with a points distribution table approved by the IGF.

- With the revision, ranking points for each player accumulate over a multi-year rolling period with the points awarded in the most recent 13-week period weighted at 100 percent of their original value.

- After the initial 13-week period, points are devalued by 1.1 percent for each of the next 91 weeks (during which the ranking was not suspended) before they drop entirely off the player’s record.

- Each player is then ranked according to his/her average number of points, which is determined by dividing the total number of ranking points she/he has earned by the number of tournaments in which she/he has played during that period.

There is a minimum divisor of 35 events for the Women's OGR while for the Men's OGR, there is a minimum divisor of 40 events and a maximum divisor of 52 events.

In the event of ties at any of the 60 starting positions, the ties will be broken by the following criteria, in order: 

- Total Official World Golf Ranking points earned in the most recent 52-week period, ending with the Olympic Golf Ranking as of Monday 21 June 2021 for the men and Monday 28 June 2021 for the women.

- Total Official World Golf Ranking points earned in the most recent 13-week period, ending with the Olympic Golf Ranking as of Monday 21 June 2021 for the men and Monday 28 June 2021 for the women.

The Top 15 players at the end of the qualifying period will be eligible for the Olympics, with a limit of four players from a given country.

Beyond the Top 15, players will be eligible based on the world rankings, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the Top 15.

Japan, the host country, will be guaranteed a spot as will each of the five continental regions.

- International Golf Federation

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