Olympic Golf Fields Are Hardly Olympic: Interesting Data Analysis

Olympic Golf

I hope you find this piece interesting in it’s own right, but it also an example of how one might analyze a particular data set. Here are the data sources for the Men’s Olympic Field and the Women’s Olympic Field if you want to give them to some students and ask for their own analysis.

I just looked up the fields for the Olympics and they are both stinkers. Due to the STUPID system to select players, countries can have up to four players if they are in the world top 15. The men’s field in particular, is also impacted by top players choosing not to go due to the Zika virus and their work load. On the men’s side, that’s the US. On the women’s side, that’s South Korea. Other countries can only have two. This means that they have to dig deep into the talent pool to get golfers who aren’t the 3rd best or higher in their country.

In the men’s field, the 60th and last qualifier is the legendary Mexican Rodolfo Cazaubo checking in at number 330 in the world. He is one of eight golfers in the 300’s who are joined by eight in the 200’s, and 13 in the 100’s. That means that 29/60 or almost half are not in the top 100 and only eight of the top 25 will be there.

On the women’s side, the 60th qualifier is Victoria Lovelady (I’m not making this up although with a name like that you might not guess that she was a golfer.) who’s world rank is a hefty 456! She is joined by seven others in the 400’s, seven in the 300’s, five in the 200’s, and eight in the 100’s. That is a total of 28/60 not in the top 100 and only 14 of the top 25 made it.

This makes both fields the worst by far of any tournament this year and perhaps ever. It’s good news for our guys Dustin, Jordan, Bubba, and Ricky, who don’t have much competition, but the gold medal will seem a bit tarnished to me. Watch out for Sergio Garcia. (This just in. Number 2 in the World Dustin Johnson isn’t going and will be replaced by number 13 Patrick Reed.)

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