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South Korea’s Golf Dominance Leaves Some of the World’s Best Out of the Olympics

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Ha-na Jang finished in a tie for 21st at the United States Women’s Open. She was ranked No. 10 in the world on July 4, making her fifth in South Korea and thus outside the Olympic cutoff.

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Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

SAN MARTIN, Calif. — They have been tracking results week after week as compulsively as players in a fantasy league do. In South Korea, where people are passionate about women’s golf and the Olympics, the composition of the team that the country will send to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next month has drawn intense scrutiny.

“Every single week we talk about who is going to be playing, how they’re going to prepare and they talk about the gold medal,” said Se Ri Pak, who will serve as the captain of the South Korean women’s Olympic squad. She added, “Our country is taking it really, really seriously.”

In women’s golf, South Korea is like a cribbage player who has to slough off cards from a strong hand. In the current world rankings, the country boasts seven of the top 14 players, and 10 of the top 20. The…

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