Essential Golf: A passion for the Game

The Race to Qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics

The Race to Qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics

This summer all paths lead to Paris and its surrounding cities for the much-awaited 2024 Summer Olympics. After over a century of missing in action, golf returned to the games in 2016. Now, golfers and National Olympic Committees worldwide are working round the clock to ensure participation. The golf tournaments will take place at Le Golf National’s Albatros course in Guyancourt just outside Paris, famous for being the site for the 2018 Ryder Cup and host of the Open de France on the DP World Tour. So how can the world’s best qualify for the competition?

History of Golf in the Olympics

Golf’s debut in the Summer Olympic Games is officially acknowledged to have occurred in 1900 and 1904, even though the 1900 competitions were not considered to be official games at the time. In 1908, there was supposed to be a golf tournament, but it was cancelled less than two days before it was supposed to begin. In 1920, there were two scheduled golf tournaments, but they were cancelled because not enough people entered.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to bring back the sport for the 2016 Summer Olympics during its meeting in Copenhagen in October 2009. The organisation that oversees golf at the Olympic Games is the International Golf Federation. The Official World Golf Rankings for men and women serve as the primary basis for qualification. The top 15 players in each gender automatically qualify (up to four players per nation), followed by the top two players from the remaining nations.

A Short Guide to the Rules

“The Game of Golf consists of playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules” is the first rule, which succinctly summarises the basic rules of the game. Different clubs are used by players according to different factors, such as playing surface and distance to the hole.

Counting the number of shots a player needs to finish an 18-hole course played four times over four days is the Olympic golf format, known as stroke play. At the conclusion of the four rounds, the player with the fewest strokes wins the competition.

Qualification Criteria for the Paris Olympics

The International Golf Federation (IGF), of which Annika Sörenstam is president, is the body tasked with overseeing golf at the Summer Olympics. The organization employs an Olympic Golf Ranking (OGR) system to determine which players will participate, which essentially mirrors the men’s and women’s World Rankings. The OGR considers several ranking tournaments, with points awarded to golfers based on their final positions in each event. The IGF’s points distribution schedule is such that performances in events with stronger fields earn more points.

Golfers accumulate OGR points over a two-year “rolling” period, with points earned in the most recent 13-week period weighted at a full percentage of their original value. After that initial phase, points lose value by 1.1% for each of the remaining 91 weeks before dropping off the player’s 2-year record entirely. Going by this criteria, qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics began in July 2022. The OGR is ordered by average points per player, calculated by dividing the player’s total number of ranking points by the number of tournaments played. A minimum divisor of 35 events applies to the women’s OGR, with 40-52 events applying for the men’s OGR.