Olympic qualification for golf will be extended up until a month before the Games ©Getty Images

The International Golf Federation (IGF) has announced that the qualification window for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be extended to June 2021, due to the postponement of the Games to next year.

Players will now accumulate points in the Olympic golf rankings until June 21 for men and June 28 for women, with both Olympic fields consisting of 60 players.

Both the Olympic men's and women's rankings are based off the world rankings, and will resume when tournaments begin again after being suspended from March 20.

This was due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which also led to the postponement of Tokyo 2020, which will now start on July 23, 2021.

The rankings decision was made by IGF after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) relaxed its maximum two-year window for qualifying on April 2.

Antony Scanlon, the IGF executive director, claimed this is the fairest way of deciding qualification for the Games.

"Having received from the IOC confirmation of the dates for when the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be held and the qualification principles, the fairest and most equitable way to determine the qualifying athletes was to align the previous qualification system with these new dates," he said.

Ireland's Rory McIlroy currently sits top of the men's Olympic golf rankings ©Getty Images
Ireland's Rory McIlroy currently sits top of the men's Olympic golf rankings ©Getty Images

"We are pleased that the IOC swiftly approved these changes to provide clarity on this important area.

"The IGF will continue to work closely with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 to address the other areas that the postponement of the Games affects our sport and our athletes, to develop the necessary plans to resolve these. 

"We remain fully committed to providing safe and fair golf competitions and a memorable experience for our athletes when these Olympic Games are held in 2021."

The top 15 players in the world will automatically qualify for the Olympics, with a limit of four players per country within that number.

Of the other 45, only the top two from other nations which do not already have two athletes in the top 15 will qualify.

Japan will also be guaranteed one spot as hosts, and all five continental regions will be represented too.