Golf

2021 Olympians Conners, Hughes battling 3 Canadian golfers for 2 spots at Paris Games

Five Canadians were at The Sentry for the 2024 PGA Tour opener on the weekend in Hawaii. Problem is, no country can send more than two to the Olympics this summer, unless they are top-15 in the world rankings. Corey Conners is the highest at 38th.

Countries can take maximum 4 players if each is inside top 15 of world rankings

Composite of two Canadian men's golfers following through on a tee shot.
From left: Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes are in the mix with three other Canadian men's golfers to secure two spots for the Paris Olympics this summer. (CBC Sports composite: Rex Arbogast/Associated Press/File, Frank Gunn/Canadian Press/File)

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.

Consider Canada.

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 won 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."

WATCH | Taylor makes 72-foot eagle putt to win 2023 Canadian Open:

Nick Taylor makes 72-foot eagle putt to win RBC Canadian Open

11 months ago
Duration 2:26
Taylor nailed the longest putt of his career to clinch the tournament on the fourth playoff hole.

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 chances 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.

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