Will the allure of an Olympic gold medal compel golf’s top names to compete in its return to the Olympic Games in 2016? At least in the case of Tiger Woods, yes.
Woods will be 40 years old in 2016, and likely past his prime, but unquestionably the biggest name in the sport and a huge reputational asset in Rio de Janeiro.
Tiger, however, made it clear he must qualify before he can decide if he would compete.
“I’ve got to qualify first,” he said at a press conference this week. “If I get in, it would be great.”
To qualify, Woods will likely to either remain in the top 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking by the cutoff date to determine the 60-player field for the men’s event. No country will be allowed more than four players in the field if they have more than two representatives in the OWGR top 15.
Though Woods had fallen as low as No. 58 in the ranking as of last year, perhaps the biggest potential block to his participation is the 2016 schedule. Considering the number of high-profile PGA Tour stops during the July and August months, adding another might be too much.
“I don’t know how it’s going to be scheduling wise,” Woods said. “We have seven big events right now in this stretch, and we’re adding an eighth. It’s going to be a very, very busy summer for us as golfers. But it’s also the Olympics, and it is a very big event and something that we haven’t historically been involved in.”