The International Golf Federation (IGF) was founded in 1958 to encourage the international development of the game and to employ golf as a vehicle to foster friendship and sportsmanship. Recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the official international federation for golf, the IGF is comprises 125 federations from 118 countries. The IGF created the IGF Olympic Golf Committee in 2008 to drive its effort for the sport’s inclusion in the 2016 Games.
Golf was last an Olympic sport at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, when the United States and Canada were the only two competing countries. An indication of golf’s globalisation since 1904 is that, in 2016 in Rio, at least 30 countries, from all five continents, are expected to be represented in both the men's and women's competitions.
In both the men’s and women’s event, the top 15 world-ranked players will be eligible for the Olympic Games, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players will be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two available players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15 to a maximum number of 60 players in total in the competition.
The IGF recommendation of a 72-hole individual stroke play competition for both men and women reflects leading players’ opinion of the fairest and best way to identify an Olympic champion. In the event of a tie for either first, second or third place, a three-hole playoff will determine the medal winner(s).