Scott Heppell Rory McIlroy celebrates his Open Championship win on 20 July.
boys for brazil

McIlroy and McDowell flying high as early Olympic 2016 rankings unveiled

It is a long, long way to Rio but Phil Mickelson already has work to do to represent the USA.

IT WILL BE 24 months before Irish golfers [hopefully] walk out at the Maracana Stadium in Rio, smiling and waving behind the Triciolour.

The 2016 Olympics are a long way off but Team Ireland must wish it was next month. Rory McIlroy has regained his form and confidence while Graeme McDowell retained his French Open title this month and had another top 10 finish, at the Canadian Open, on Sunday.

The International Golf Federation will regularly update its Olympic rankings but, as of this morning, McIlroy is in second position and McDowell is 13th. Australia’s Adam Scott is first while his compatriot Jason Day is ninth.

The top 15 golfers in the world automatically qualify with a limit of four golfers from each country. To that end, the competition from United States’ golfers is by far the most intense.

British Open Golf Peter Morrison Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia will hope to pit their golfing wits against each other in Rio. Peter Morrison

If the USA team was selected today, it would, based on world rankings, feature Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Jym Furyk and Tiger Woods. That means the likes of Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Rickie Fowler would miss out.

Although a total of 60 golfers will be selected to play the inaugural 72-hole event in Rio, once you go beyond the top 15, a country is only guaranteed two representatives. That means Shane Lowry [currently ranked 58th] would miss out.

England would presumably be happy with their duo of Justin Rose and Luke Donald, Spain would have Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez flying the flag while Martin Kaymer would be joined by fellow German Marcel Siem.

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