from a post on Swedish Golf Online
Austin Kelley reports in the Wall Street Journal/Online that back in 1904, the last time there was an Olympic golf tournament, 74 out of 77 players were from the U.S. Since then both the Olympics and golf have grown, but if the sport returned to the Games today—the IOC will vote Friday, October 9, whether to reintroduce golf in 2016—the U.S. team would still dominate the men's tournament in numbers and stature.
Under the proposed format, 60 golfers would qualify for the men's competition based on their world rankings, with a guaranteed place for the top 15 and a limit of two players per nation after that. Based on the current rankings, the U.S. would have seven players in the field—no other country would have more than two. The projected U.S. team, which includes the world's top-three players, has amassed 3,657 world-ranking points since the beginning of 2008, dwarfing second-place Great Britain.
The U.S. might be even more dominant if the format was not tailored to showcase the globalism of golf. As the International Golf Federation has argued, you can find a fairway (and miss it) in 111 countries on six continents, from Sweden to Swaziland. The national quotas mean talented Americans like Lucas Glover and Zach Johnson would miss the Games, as would Northern Ireland's rising star Rory McIlroy since he would be vying for a spot on the British team. Instead, longshots such as Malaysia's Iain Steel, the world's 399th-ranked player, would take on Tiger Woods and company.
But if golf returns, the U.S. isn't a lock. Just look at history: In 1904, 46-year-old Canadian George Lyon, one of three non-U.S. players, won gold. Canadian Mike Weir, take note: You'll be 46 in 2016.Olympic Power Rankings
Here's how the Olympic golf teams would shape up based on current world rankings.
NATION/TOTAL PTS.* PLAYERS
1 USA (3,657) Woods, Mickelson, O'Hair Cink, Stricker, Furyk, Perry
2 Great Britain (790) Casey, Westwood
3 Sweden (765) Stenson, Karlsson
4 Spain (759) Garcia, Jimenez
5 Australia (715) Allenby, Ogilvy
6 South Africa (671) Goosen, Els
7 Ireland (609) McGrane, Harrington
8 Germany (464) Kaymer, Cejka
*World ranking points accumulated since 2008.