The four golf organizations who oversee the four majors consisting of the USGA, R&A, PGA and the Masters Tournament announced that the gold medal winner in the men’s golf competition in this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, will earn an invite to all four 2017 Major Championships.
This might sound like big news, but in reality it will only affect a handful of players. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) has restricted the field to 60 players for the men’s competition. Those 60 will be the top ranked players in the world according to the Official World Golf Ranking with a maximum of four players from any given country.
The reason it won’t affect too many players is because of the ways that the four Major Championships currently allow players to qualify. Take the Masters Tournament for example: the top 50 in the World Golf Rankings automatically get an invite to Augusta! Sure, this will change over a year’s time, but only for a small number of players. The U.S. Open and the Open Championship both follow suit allowing the top 50 in the World Golf Rankings to play and the PGA Championship goes even further and invariably allows the top 100 players to play in the event.
Mike Davis of the USGA comments on the announcement:
“I think it’s exciting that all the nine majors have come together to support the Olympics. I think we realize what Olympics can do in growing the game worldwide, and for that, I think this was exciting news.”
It is a great gesture from the four heads of major golf organizations, but I think there is something they could add that might spice up the Olympic competition even more. Maybe a four year exemption? Considering that the Olympics happen every four years that could be an option.
Check out the announcement here.