Thursday, March 10, 2016

Who Will Qualify For Olympic & International Crown Teams?

The next four months are going to be extremely exciting if you are a fan of the LPGA. In fact, it will be exciting if your a women's golf fan period. Doesn't matter which tour you follow. The competition for qualifying for spots on the International Crown team and the Olympic team is just starting to heat up now. With the LPGA staging 17 tournaments over the next 19 weeks, with three of them being major championships, there has never been more at stake.

When teeing it up the next four months, winning will not be the only thing on the players' minds. Never was there such an emphasis on a player's Rolex Ranking, as will be the case in the coming weeks. Making both the International Crown Team and the Olympic Team is solely based on those rankings.

Let's see where they stand as of today:

2014 Defending champions, Spain, would not qualify as of today.

These are the teams that qualify for the International Crown as of this writing:

1- South Korea (20)
2- United States (38)
3- Japan (179)
4- Chinese Taipei (185)
5- England (337)
6- Thailand (350)
7- Australia (363)
8- Sweden (367)

These teams would fail to qualify:
9- China (398)
10- Denmark (445)
11- Spain (456)

As you can see, defending champion Spain is not even close to qualifying at this point. All four players that made up that team have fallen on hard times in just the last 365 days. Azahara Munoz (14 to 33), Carlotta Ciganda (40 to 48), Beatriz Recari (62 to 147), and Belen Mozo (114 to 228) have all taken a dip in the Rolex Rankings.

How Do the Players Qualify For the Olympics?

1- Qualifications will be based on the world rankings as of July 11, 2016, with a total of 60 players qualifying.

2- All players who are ranked in the top 15 of the Rolex Rankings as of July 11, 2016 will automatically qualify. The only exception to this is that one country may not have more than 4 players.

3- The remaining spots will go to the highest ranked players from countries that do not already have 2 golfers qualified.

4- The International Golf Federation has guaranteed one player from the host country of Brazil.

5- The International Golf Federation has guaranteed that at least one golfer from each geographical region ( America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania) will qualify.

1- Lydia Ko  - NZL
2- Inbee Park - KOR
3- Lexi Thompson - USA
4- Stacy Lewis - USA
5- Ha Na Jang - KOR
6- Amy Yang - KOR
7- Sei Young Kim - KOR
8- Shanshan Feng - CHN
9- Brooke M. Henderson - CAN
10- Suzann Pettersen - NOR
11- Cristie Kerr - USA
12- Anna Nordqvist - SWE
13- Minjee Lee - AUS
14- Teresa Lu - TPE                
15- Pornanong Phatlum - THA
16- Karrie Webb - AUS
17- Azahara Munoz - ESP
18- Candie Kung - TPE
19- Mika Miyazato - JPN
20- Charley Hull - GBR
21- Haru Nomura - JPN
22- Xi Yu Lin - CHN
23- Sandra Gal - GER
24- Carlota Ciganda - ESP
25- Ariya Jutanugarn - THA
26- Lee-Anne Pace - RSA
27- Karine Icher - FRA
28- Nicole Larsen - DEN
29- Julieta Granada - PAR
30- Catriona Matthew - GBR
31- Caroline Masson - GER
32- Mariajo Uribe - COL
33- Gwladys Nocera - FRA
34- Pernilla Lindberg - SWE
35- Christel Boeljon - NED
36- Nanna Koerstz Madsen - DEN
37- Marianne Skarpnord - NOR
38- Alena Sharp - CAN
39- Paula Reto - RSA
40- Kelly Tan - MAS
41- Ursula Wikstrom - FIN
42- Klara Spilkova - CZE
43- Stephanie Meadow - IRL
44- Dewi Claire Schreefel - NED
45- Leona Maguire - IRL
46- Christine Wolf - AUT
47- Noora Tamminen - FIN
48- Giulia Sergas - ITA
49- Maria Verchenova - RUS
50- Gaby Lopez - MEX
51- Laetitia Beck - ISR
52- Fabienne In-Albon - SUI
53- Giulia Molinaro - ITA
54- Alejandra Llaneza - MEX
55- Michelle Koh - MAS
56- Liv Cheng - NZL
57- Chloe Leurquin - BEL
58- Paz Echeverria - CHI
59- Aditi Ashok - IND
60- Miriam Nagi - BRA

To summarize the above, players will be fighting to be among the 4 highest ranked players from their country, to make the International Crown team. Those same players will be fighting to be among the 2 highest players from their country (except South Korea & the United States), to make the Olympic Team. These players will be playing for the highest stakes they have ever had to play for in one year in their careers. The pressure will be enormous.

As I stated above, the United States and South Korea are the exception to the 2 players per country making the Olympic team, as they have several players ranked in or just outside the top 15 in the current rankings. As shown in paragraph 2 above of the Olympic qualifying rules, all players in the Rolex Rankings top 15, will qualify with a maximum of 4 players per country. This is where the real fighting for position will occur.

As of today these are the highest ranked South Korean players:
#2 - Inbee Park
#5 - Ha Na Jang
#6 - Amy Yang
#7 - Sei Young Kim
The above 4 players would make both the International Crown and Olympic teams.

#8 - In Gee Chun
#10- So Yeon Ryu
#12- Hyo Joo Kim
The above players would not make either team in spite of their top 15 ranking.

It doesn't stop there for the South Korean players. Here are still more fighting for those spots:
#18 - Bo Mee Lee
#20 - Na Yeon Choi
#23 - Su Ju Ahn
#24 - Mirim Lee

Now for the United States:
#3 - Lexi Thompson
#4 - Stacy Lewis
#14 - Cristie Kerr
As of today these 3 players would make the Olympic team.

#17 - Brittany Lincicome
As of today Brittany would make the International Crown team, but fail to qualify for the Olympic team by 2 places.

Still in contention to make both teams:
#21 - Alison Lee
#22 - Jessica Korda
#26 - Morgan Pressel
#28 - Gerina Piller

Confusing? Maybe. Exciting? Definitely. But one thing is for sure, this is a great time to be an LPGA fan!

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  1. Hopefully this will result in stronger fields in all tour events. Anyone close will reconsider that week off. Great way to put it all in one place, Tony

    1. Glen, as usual, you make an excellent point. Especially for the S. Korean golfers, they will have a tough time sitting out tournaments, knowing they can lose Ranking points to the players teeing it up. It will most definitely lead to stronger fields.

    2. Glen, as usual, you make an excellent point. Especially for the S. Korean golfers, they will have a tough time sitting out tournaments, knowing they can lose Ranking points to the players teeing it up. It will most definitely lead to stronger fields.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. That isn't how it works. Players in the top 15 still count. That is why USA only has 3 in position to qualify.