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Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Qualifying date for Olympics set

By Bob Harig
ESPN.com

DORAL, Fla. -- Olympic qualifying for 2016 will be determined by the Official World Golf Ranking as of July 11 of that year.

The date is significant because it will fall prior to the Open Championship at Royal Troon, which will be played that week.

Ty Votaw, an executive with the PGA Tour and a vice president of the International Golf Federation, announced during a news conference at Trump National Doral on Wednesday as part of adidas' participation with the United States team that the 60 players from both the men's and women's competitions will be determined at that time.

Both tournaments in Brazil will utilize 72 holes of stroke play.

Under the proposed format, everyone in the top 15 of the rankings as of July 11, 2016, will be eligible to compete, up to a limit of four players per country. From the 16th-ranked player and beyond, a maximum of two players per country can be chosen.

The July 11 date is important because the rankings change weekly.

As of now, these four Americans will qualify: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson. But Dustin Johnson is 10th in the world and followed by Americans Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Steve Stricker and Bubba Watson. Any of those players could this week at Doral move ahead of Johnson, which shows the volatility of the rankings. In addition, a major championship performance easily can jumble the rankings.

The Olympics are scheduled to begin Aug. 5, with the men's competition taking place the following week.

The professional golf schedule for 2016 is proving to be problematic, as all of the major championships are to be completed prior to the Summer Games, with the Open and PGA Championships being just two weeks apart.

Golf will be part of the Olympics for the first time since 1904 and will be played in Rio de Janeiro at a course currently under construction.