Rory McIlroy lies in 51st place in the US PGA on Long Island after shooting a two over par round of 72 in yesterday’s first round.
Fellow Irish stars Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry are both three shots further back and will need a big day to make the cut into the weekend.
Graeme McDowell went around in level par to lead the Irish challenge.
Following on from McIlroy’s comments about representing Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games during the week, the Golfing Union of Ireland has clarified the qualification process that will be followed in determining the team.
Each field in Men’s and Women’s is limited to 60 players. The International Golf Federation who manage the Olympic tournament will utilise the official world golf rankings to create the Olympic Golf Rankings as a method of determining eligibility.
The top-15 world-ranked players will be eligible for the Olympics, with a limit of four players from a given country.
Beyond the top-15, players will be 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.
McIlroy is currently comfortably inside the Top 15 alongside four US players, two each from Australia, Spain and Great Britain and one each from South Africa, Sweden, Japan and Italy.
His declaration for Ireland solved the potential problem for the IGF of what flag to have alongside his name on the rankings. On the PGA and European Tour leaderboards, he is denoted with the flag of Northern Ireland but that is not an Olympic entity so it would have had to be one or the other.
Shane Lowry would also be very well in contention with his current ranking of 21 with Graeme McDowell next best of the Irish at 120th ahead of Paul Dunne in 154th.
Leona Maguire is ranked 41st on the Women’s list with Stephanie Meadow ten places further back.
The qualification process runs until the 22nd of June 2020.
“We are delighted that Rory has signalled his intention to compete for Ireland at the Olympics in Tokyo next year,” said Neil Manchip, the nominee from the Confederation of Irish Golf to be the Men’s Team leader in Tokyo and a former coach of McIlroy’s.
“We’ve had several conversations over the last couple of months and I know he’s excited about playing. Having a multiple major winner as part of Team Ireland will undoubtedly be a boost to the entire team making the trip next year.”