Eight of the current best Olympic men’s golf qualification battles
We are exactly a year away from the 2024 Summer Olympics.
That’s a lot of golf – the FedExCup Playoffs, four more major championships, a handful of designated PGA Tour events and much, much more – so there is plenty of time for players to make moves and punch their tickets to Paris.
Here is a look at the eight best qualification battles for men’s golf at the moment:
(Note: Countries are allowed up to two representatives, or up to four provided they are all ranked in the top 15 of the Official World Golf Ranking; OWGR rank is listed in parentheses.)
In qualifying position: Scottie Scheffler (1), Patrick Cantlay (4), Xander Schauffele (6), Max Homa (7)
In contention: Brian Harman (10), Wyndham Clark (11), Jordan Spieth (12), Brooks Koepka (14), Cameron Young (15)
The skinny: With nine players currently inside the top 15 of the world rankings, there is a ton of competition for those coveted four Team USA spots. Scheffler is probably already a mathematical lock, barring something crazy, though those other three spots are very much up for grabs. Cantlay and Schauffele have each gone almost a year without a win while Harman and Clark have vaulted into the conversation by winning majors this year. Koepka will have fewer opportunities than his countrymen considering LIV Golf still has not been given the go-ahead to offer OWGR points. Will Zalatoris could be a U.S. player to keep an eye on, as he’s missed much of the year with a back injury but is still No. 18 in the world and set to return in the next couple months.
In qualifying position: Matt Fitzpatrick (9), Tyrrell Hatton (13)
In contention: Tommy Fleetwood (22), Justin Rose (33), Bob MacIntyre (53), Jordan Smith (83), Aaron Rai (96)
The skinny: There is a better chance that Fleetwood or Rose, the 2016 gold medalist, join Fitzpatrick and Hatton in the top 15 rather than pass them. However, there is also a non-zero chance that Fitzpatrick or Hatton or both of them withdraw like they did three years ago for Tokyo. MacIntyre is gaining momentum quickly after nearly winning the Scottish. Smith and Rai would need to get hot on the DP World Tour, but their odds of getting to Paris are slim unless there are some players who pass on their invites.
In qualifying position: Tom Kim (17), Sungjae Im (27)
In contention: Si Woo Kim (37), K.H. Lee (54), Ben An (78), S.H. Kim (148), Bio Kim (212)
The skinny: At 21 years old, Tom Kim’s star is still quickly rising. As for Im, he has now gone eight straight PGA Tour starts with nothing better than T-20. That could leave the door open for Si Woo, K.H. Lee or even Ben An, who used a T-3 finish at the Scottish to get into The Open, where he tied for 23rd.
In qualifying position: Cam Smith (8), Jason Day (21)
In contention: Adam Scott (39), Min Woo Lee (45), Cam Davis (56), Lucas Herbert (57), Marc Leishman (207)
The skinny: If LIV Golf doesn’t receive OWGR recognition soon, Smith is going to start dropping faster. Day’s resurgence has been one of the feel-good stories this year in golf. Scott has passed on both recent Olympics, 2016 and 2021. Lee, Davis and Herbert are all rising stars who could make runs in 2024.
In qualifying position: Corey Conners (30), Nick Taylor (44)
In contention: Adam Hadwin (55), Adam Svensson (67), Mackenzie Hughes (76), Taylor Pendrith (114), Ben Silverman (145)
The skinny: Canada is one of just three countries with at least seven players inside the top 150 of the world rankings. And none of those players are locks. Conners is just 25 spots ahead of Adam Hadwin, the first man out.
In qualifying position: Alex Noren (63), Alexander Bjork (97)
In contention: David Lingmerth (99), Jens Dantorp (152), Sebastian Soderberg (155), Vincent Norrman (164), Henrik Stenson (178)
The skinny: Noren is 41 years old and has just two top-10s on the PGA Tour this calendar year. Bjork has had a strong year on the DP World Tour and is eighth in the Race To Dubai, so we could see him on the PGA Tour next season. Lingmerth has gone from almost outside the world top 700 during the last Olympics to inside the top 100. Norrman is fresh off his first career PGA Tour win while another young player, one who is not on this list, could also enter the picture soon – Ludvig Aberg (302).
In qualifying position: Rasmus Hojgaard (94), Thorbjorn Olesen (98)
In contention: Nicolai Hojgaard (100), Marcus Helligkilde (229), Niklas Norgaard Moller (301)
The skinny: This one is really tight at the top with three players, including the Hojgaard twins, separated by six OWGR spots. Rasmus and Olesen have both won the DP World Tour this year, though Nicolai is playing the best at the moment – T-6 at Scottish, T-23 at The Open.
Currently just in: 55. Phachara Khongwatmai, Thailand (255); 56. Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela (263); 57. Kalle Samooja, Finland (271); 58. Kristian Johannessen, Norway (278); 59. Fabrizio Zanotti, Paraguay (306); 60. Nicholas Echavarria, Colombia (322)
Currently just out: Bernd Wiesberger, Austria (330); Ricardo Gouveia, Portugal (356); Rafa Campos, Puerto Rico (364); Matthias Schwab, Austria (399); Lukas Nemecz, Austria (418)
The skinny: Several Austrians are knocking on the door to join Sepp Straka in Paris, though LIV Golf’s current OWGR status will limit Wiesberger’s opportunity to earn points – for now. There are also several players ranked higher than Echavarria and some other bubble guys currently in, but they are boxed out by the two-country limit. That group includes notables such as France’s Antoine Rozner (123), Japan’s Takumi Kanaya (127), Belgium’s Adrien Dumont de Chassart (250), China’s Haotong Li (260) and Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (314).