By Gary Anderson

March 5 - Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland currently sits 15th on the world rankings and would make the automatic cut for Rio 2016 ©Getty Images The deadline for Olympic qualification for the Rio 2016 golf tournament has been set for July 11, 2016, it has been announced. 

Ty Votaw, an executive with the PGA Tour and a vice-president of the International Golf Federation (IGF), confirmed that the 60 men and 60 women who will be challenging for Olympic gold in Rio will be decided less than a month out from the start of the Games due on August 5, 2016.

"A comprehensive announcement will be made in a few weeks' time," said Votaw.

"Where [July 11] falls in relation to the world golf schedule is still to be determined."

The July 11 cut-off point falls just days before the start of the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland, considered by many as the premier golf tournament in the world.

Golf's return to the Olympics for the first time since St Louis 1904 has thrown up a scheduling headache for PGA Tour officials in the United States.

The Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota in September 2016, just weeks after the Rio Games are due to finish on August 21.

That has led to the likelihood of the final major of the year - the USPGA Championship which is traditionally staged in early August - being moved up the calendar and is now likely to be held in between the 2016 Open Championship, which finishes on July 17, and the start of the Olympics.

South Korean Inbee Park leads the women's world golf rankings and could be a potential gold medal threat in Rio 2016 if she continues her form ©Getty Images South Korean Inbee Park leads the women's world golf rankings and could be a potential gold medal threat in Rio 2016 if she continues her form ©Getty Images

The field for Rio 2016 will be determined using the world rankings, with the top 15 players in both the men's and women's rankings qualifying automatically, with a limit of four players from one country.

Outside 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.

Both the men's and women's competition in Rio will follow a traditional tournament format of four 18-hole rounds of stroke play, with the top three being awarded Olympic medals.

In the event of a tie for any of the podium positions, a three-hole playoff will determine the medal winner.

The Olympic Games course at Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca is still under construction and has been the subject of delays due to legal wrangling over ownership, but Rio 2016 organisers have insisted the course will be completed on time to host a test event in 2015 or early 2016.

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