January events bring movement to Olympic Golf Ranking

By Preston Smith, IGF Communications

With the 2024 PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour and DP World Tour seasons kicking off this month, the final leg of the four-year Olympic Golf cycle is underway as players jostle for an opportunity to represent their nations at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

While the year is young, several players in each of the women’s and men’s Olympic Golf Ranking (OGR) have taken advantage of the opening month of the year to make significant moves inside the top 60 of the OGR (the threshold needed to qualify for Paris 2024).

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko made waves on the women’s side with her 20th career LPGA victory at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, and with it, a leap back inside the top 10 of the OGR. But it was her fellow New Zealand native – Momoka Kobori – who used a runner-up in a PGA Tour of Australasia event to re-enter the top 60 and give New Zealand a glimpse of what a two-woman lineup at the Olympics could look like later this year.

ISPS HANDA Australian Open - Day 4 - Kobori
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 03: Momoka Kobori of New Zealand plays a shot on the 1st hole during the ISPS HANDA Australian Open at The Australian Golf Course on December 03, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

On the men’s side, Canada’s Adam Hadwin (T6 at The American Express) surpassed countryman Nick Taylor for the second allocated position for Canada inside the top 60. There is currently a tight five-man race between Corey Conners, Hadwin, Taylor, Adam Svensson and Mackenzie Hughes for (likely) two positions representing Canada at the Olympics.

Likewise, South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout used a runner-up finish at The American Express to catapult into the No. 1 position for South Africa in the OGR, leapfrogging Thriston Lawrence and knocking out Dean Burmester in the process. Colombia’s Nico Echavarria also passed Sebastian Muñoz for the second position for his country, joining Camilo Villegas.

The American Express - Final Round - Christiaan Bezuidenhout
LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 21: Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa hits from the fifth fairway during the final round of The American Express at Pete Dye Stadium Course on January 21, 2024 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Finally, in a flashback to the 2016 Olympic Games, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines entered the top 60 in the OGR. The Philippines has had one representative in the men’s Olympic Golf competition in each of the last two editions, including Tabuena in 2016 and Juvic Pagunsan in 2021. Pagunsan made headlines after an opening-round 66 in the last Olympic competition before dropping out of contention.

With golf’s worldwide Tours getting back to a regular cadence this spring, the coming months will put the finishing touches on the contingent of players going to Paris and having the incredible opportunity to represent their nations as they compete for Olympic medals and global stardom.

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