On August 11th, for the first time in over 100 years, golf will be in the Olympics. To begin, the men will tee it up on Amy Alcott and company’s Barra Da Tijuca’s Olympic Golf Course and then a week later the ladies will take over. And while the PGA and European Tour men seem to be dropping out of the event like flies… the women are ready. With the LPGA being such a global tour, it will be a wonderfully unprecedented amount of promotion for women’s golf.
This is fantastic because the LPGA, Ladies’ European Tour, and other tours are so good right now and people need to see it! The Olympics are an ideal stage to showcase all the talent from all over the world.
The field for both the Men’s and Women’s events is determined based on the World Golf Rankings and consists of 60 players from the top of the rankings. Up to four players from one country can be in the tournament so long as those four players are in the top 15 in the world.
After the top 15 players in the World Golf Rankings are accounted for then the rest of the field is taken from 16 and down with no country allowed to exceed two players total.
Not surprisingly for the ladies, South Korea will be sending four players. The U.S.A. is not far behind in the top 15 count and will have three players going. New Zealand will only be mustering one player to compete… but she is… Lydia Ko… World Number One… so there is that.
The chase for Olympic Gold, Silver, and Bronze will be an individual 72 hole stroke-play contest with playoffs for all ties in the medals.
The host country, Brazil will have two female golfers competing in the Games. They are… In spot number 57- Miriam Nagl and in spot number 58 – Victoria Lovelady.
Now spot number 58, Victoria Lovelady is a special spot for me. You see, I met Victoria during my rookie year on the Symetra Tour in 2013. We were sharing housing for a tournament in Concord, New Hampshire. Our host fellow was named Victor and he loved to talk Patriots football in his thick Northeast accent. He would cruise up in his big ol’ Harley and say something like, “Honeys, are youse guys tolckin about Tom!”
Victoria was a second-year veteran on the Symetra Tour… so to my green self, she knew just about everything. I remember talking about this and that with her… a little golf… a little life… we both knew how to strum the guitar and had one handy so we did that too. She shared her South American music with me and spoke of her home in Brazil. I could tell she very much loved it there. (And she loved her husband who was waiting there for her too!).
It was very fun week golfing and making friends for me. I can’t say I’ve seen Victoria much since that August in New Hampshire. Thus, when I was scrolling through the list of qualifiers for the Golf Games at Barra da Tijuca… I was pretty stoked to see her name!
It turns out that since Victoria left the Symetra Tour in 2013 she’s been on the Ladies European Tour (LET). In 2014 Victoria played 11 LET events and last season she played in 7 LET events with her best finish being a T34 at the Buick Championship. She has continued on this year as well.
Although the Olympics does give a host spot to Brazil for the Games in some sports, Victoria had to meet her country’s World Golf Rankings qualifying point system total to earn a spot. For this reason, over the last two years, she has been traveling tirelessly playing on multiple tours in order to work her way high enough onto the World Golf Rankings so she could represent her beloved country Brazil.
But why hear all about it from me when she can just tell you about her feelings herself?! I had a chance to message Victoria and congratulate her on her stellar accomplishment. And she kindly gave me some nice quotes to share with you all!
Without further ado…
Me: Hey Victoria! (something like that…) Tell me about your level of excitement about this whole Olympics thing?!
Victoria Lovelady: “Allie! Hi, how are you?!….
Well, with me being from Brazil, being born and raised in Brazil, I spent quite a bit of my childhood in Rio because my Dad is from Rio. So every Christmas we would go back to Grandma’s house from Sao Paolo which is where I currently live. So for me, for the past 7 years the Olympics has been a goal and has been part of my everyday thinking and that motivated me to turn pro- to keep on fighting- to keep improving.
And the fact that Brazil didn’t have (a guaranteed) host country spot- I had to go for World Ranking points all over the world. For the past two years I have been traveling around 20 countries per year and finally, I was able to get enough points to qualify to get a World Ranking. So the journey- it was worth it. It taught me a lot. Every time I thought about the Opening Ceremonies and the city that I practically grew up in…. Wow. It was a dream that has been part of my life for the past 7 years.
Now I can say that the dream is going to come true and I am so happy to be one of the Brazilian players representing my country in the city that I grew up in. And being able to even promote golf in my country and leave a legacy as part of the first Brazilian team in the first Olympics after 100 years- awesome!
I don’t even have enough words to say how excited I am. And I can’t wait to live every second of it. And I thank God for this opportunity and I thank my parents for supporting me and my sponsors and I thank everybody that cheered for me along the way. And now I can say that I am in! And let the games start!“
Sweet! Well, Victoria, I am super pumped for you and so is everyone here at Women’s Golf. Go represent and have fun!
Allie White from Lancaster, Ohio, is a professional golfer and golf journalist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at Ohio University. With four years of experience on the Symetra Tour, a cut-made at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, and a 2016 Ohio Open Championship, White hopes to continue her golf career during her academic breaks.
My two biggest golf dreams are to play in Toledo Ohio’s LPGA event and to make it back to another US Open. I’m still hunting for that first hole in one!”