Olympics COUNT DOWN

One year out from the Olympics and our ALPG play­ers are al­ready count­ing down!

Ladies GOLF - - News - STORY - Karen Lun

When the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee an­nounced in 2009 that golf would form part of the Olympic pro­gramme in 2016, most play­ers seemed de­lighted about the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits and fund­ing that golf would now re­ceive in be­com­ing an Olympic Sport. On a per­sonal level though most play­ers were more con­cerned with the 25 ma­jor Cham­pi­onships that they would com­pete in be­tween 2009 and 2016 to give any real se­ri­ous thought to Rio 2016.

Six years on and the golf­ing world is in se­ri­ous plan­ning mode for what will be one of the most sig­nif­i­cant golf events in mem­ory, in fact this time next year prac­tice rounds will be un­der­way for the men’s golf event at the games of the 121st Olympiad!

The Olympic Golf event in 2016 will be an in­di­vid­ual event which has dis­ap­pointed play­ers and fans alike, many felt that this would be a great op­por­tu­nity to show­case the game by hav­ing a team’s event, pos­si­bly even a mixed team’s event. The thought of Kar­rie Webb and Adam Scott play­ing Stacy Lewis and Jor­dan Speith for the Olympic Gold medal would cer­tainly be a mouth-wa­ter­ing en­counter, and would po­ten­tially at­tract huge world­wide au­di­ences. The IOC has re­stricted Olympic fields for each the Men’s and Women’s com­pe­ti­tion to 60 play­ers who will be se­lected from the In­ter­na­tional Golf Fed­er­a­tion Olympic Rank­ings. The top 15 ranked play­ers will be el­i­gi­ble, 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 2 or more play­ers among the top 15. The com­pe­ti­tion for places on Na­tional teams, par­tic­u­larly in the cases of the USA and South Korea teams will be tough. It is likely that th­ese teams will have 4 play­ers on each of their teams; cur­rently Korea have nine play­ers in the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rank­ings and the USA five play­ers. Bar­ring in­jury, it is most likely that Kar­rie Webb and Min­jee Lee will rep­re­sent Australia in the women’s com­pe­ti­tion.

For Kar­rie, rep­re­sent­ing Australia at the Olympics will be the pinnacle of her mag­nif­i­cent ca­reer. Kar­rie, a self-con­fessed sports nut, boasts Olympians Dawn Fraser, Nat Cook and Ren­nae Stubbs as some of her clos­est friends. The pos­si­bil­ity of her be­com­ing an Olympic ath­lete at 41 years old will no longer be just a dream, and as long as Kar­rie stays healthy she will be wear­ing the green and gold into the Mara­canã sta­dium for the open­ing cer­e­mony on Au­gust 5th 2016.

Australia would have two very good medal prospects in Min­jee and Kar­rie. I am sure Australia’s Team Leader Ian Baker-Finch is con­fi­dent that we have strong medal prospects in both the men’s and women’s com­pe­ti­tions. In say­ing this we know that golf is very dif­fer­ent to many other sports where there is maybe only a few gen­uine medal hopes.

In both the Women’s and Men’s events there will be at least 40 play­ers who are ca­pa­ble of win­ning a medal. It will def­i­nitely make fas­ci­nat­ing view­ing to see who is stand­ing on the dais draped in their na­tional flag and an Olympic Gold medal. Let’s hope that the flag is an Aus­tralian flag and they are singing the words to Ad­vance Australia Fair!

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