Even though it technically isn’t a team, no squad is more difficult to make than Americans wanting to play in the Olympics. The maximum number is four players provided they are within the top 15 in the world ranking. Otherwise, no country can send more than two.
Five Canadians were at The Sentry for the PGA Tour opener. Corey Conners leads the way at No. 38, followed by Adam Hadwin (48), Nick Taylor (54), Adam Svensson (57) and Mackenzie Hughes (63).
The Olympic ranking ends on the Monday (June 17) after the U.S. Open.
“I feel like Corey has a little bit of a lead in the world ranking, so basically four of us are fighting for that last spot,” Hadwin said. “And it’s going to take a lot of good golf. You play well one week in an event like this and you move up a lot.”
Conners and Hughes represented Canada in the Tokyo Games.
“If I had a year like I did last year, I’m pretty confident that I’ll be one of those top two guys,” said Nick Taylor, who earned the Canadian Open last June. “But we’re all so close to where I feel like it’s going to come down to the last putt.”
It’s not just a Canada issue. The United Kingdom has five players in the top 60, while Australia has five in the top 50, though Cameron Smith has limited odds for points because he plays for Saudi-funded LIV Golf.
“I think everyone is pretty hungry to be there,” Conners said. “It will be a battle to the end, for sure. It’s going to be fairly competitive for those two spots.”
The Canadians have two goals this year. It starts with the Olympics in Paris. And then there’s the Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal in September, with Mike Weir as the captain.
That also is based on the world ranking, with only six automatic spots available. Asked to choose which team he would rather make if he could only choose one, Conners picked the Presidents Cup. He was 15 and remembers Weir beating Tiger Woods in singles in 2007 the last time it was held at Royal Montreal.
“That’s going to be a special one,” Conners said.