Australia’s already renowned ‘Team Mullet’ – Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman – is all but locked in for the Tokyo Olympics with the men’s Olympic Golf Rankings finalised this week.
The extended three-year qualification process for the men’s Olympic golf competition saw the Aussies come in at positions 12 and 19 respectively in the official rankings, easily qualifying for the 60-player field. Both have previously said they would be delighted to represent Australia at the games.
With his U.S. Open victory on Sunday, Spain’s Jon Rahm became world number one and jumped Justin Thomas of the United States into the No. 1 position of the Olympic Rankings. Americans finished Nos. 2-5 with Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau, respectively. The US is the only country with more than two qualifiers in the field, which will compete at Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29-August 1.
The men’s rankings underline the diversity of the field with 36 countries represented.
The men’s qualification system for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games commenced on July 1, 2018 and originally was to have concluded on June 22, 2020, while the women’s was to have run from July 8, 2018 through to June 29, 2020. However, following the postponement of the Olympics to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IGF and International Olympic Committee announced in April 2020 an adjustment to the qualifying system where athletes would accumulate Olympic Ranking points through June 2021.
The top-15 world-ranked players are eligible for the Olympics, with a limit of four players from a given country. Beyond the top-15, players are eligible based on the world rankings, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top-15. The host country is guaranteed a spot, as is each of the five continents of the Olympics.
The women’s rankings will be finalized after this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The 60-player women’s competition will be held at Kasumigaseki CC August 4-7.
The Australian women’s selection nomination is expected to be straightforward, with Minjee Lee (world ranked 14th) and Hannah Green (15th) comfortably ahead of Katherine Kirk (101st) with only a few days to go before the cut-off point. Lee finished seventh at the Rio Olympics while Green will be a debutante.
Smith and Leishman picked up the ‘Team Mullet’ nickname during their winning performance together at the US PGA Tour’s lone team event the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, in April.
During the event Leishman donned a ‘mullet’ wig (pictured above) to demonstrate his support for his partner. They also played together in the 2018 World Cup of Golf at Kingston Heath.
“Any chance I can get to put on the green and gold, or a team shirt, I’m all in,” Smith said at the time of the Zurich event. The young Queenslander was ranked 178th in the world at the time of the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics.
“I’m a hundred per cent. I was kind of bummed I didn’t get in the team four years ago. It was really a goal of mine. I’ll be thrilled if I’m there and contending on the weekend for a gold medal.”