PGA Championship to shape Australia's Olympic golf team

Coveted spots on Australia's Olympic golf team will be on the line, as well as the Wanamaker Trophy, when the PGA Championship gets underway in Kentucky.

While Jason Day, Cameron Smith and company will be primarily chasing major glory at Valhalla from Thursday night (AEST), the battle for positions for Paris 2024 shapes as an intriguing sub-plot.

Day, Australia's No.1 and the world No.19, is in pole position to secure one of the two men's spots, with the 36th-ranked Min Woo Lee provisionally holding down the second position.

But that could all change if Smith adds a second major championship crown to the Claret Jug he won at the landmark 150th British Open in 2022.

With Smith - who climbed to world No.2 after his St Andrews triumph - unable to earn rankings points playing LIV Golf events, nothing less than victory on Sunday will be enough to move above Lee.

Languishing at No.61 in the world, a position that makes a mockery of the  official standings, Smith only has next month's US Open to accrue more points before the rankings cut-off for the Olympics falls on June 13.

The three-time Australian PGA Championship winner is desperate to make the Games team after falling narrowly short of a podium finish in Tokyo three years ago.

He bogeyed the final hole to miss a seven-man bronze-medal play-off in Japan.

No Australian has ever won an Olympic golf medal.

Day regrets opting out of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games while world No.1 and says he will jump at the chance to wear the green and gold at an Olympics for the first time.

Lee is equally eager and will join his dual major-winning sister Minjee, the country's top-ranked female at No.8 in the world, on the Australian team if he makes it.

World No.62 Cam Davis, who tied for fourth at last year's PGA Championship before sharing 12th at last month's Masters, also remains in the reckoning.

But former world No.1 Adam Scott has ruled himself out of Paris.

Scott is contesting a remarkable 91st consecutive major this week and will play with Tiger Woods in the first two rounds.

Lucas Herbert will be the first Australian to hit the fairways, at 9.31pm AEST, about half an hour before Scott, Woods and Keegan Bradley tee off.

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