Gerina Piller continued her strong climb up the Rolex Women’s World Rankings this week, moving her closer to qualifying for the Olympics.
With her tie for third Sunday at the Swinging Skirts Classic, Piller has now logged three top-10 finishes in her last four starts. Since making that pivotal putt in the historic American comeback victory at the Solheim Cup last September, Piller has climbed from No. 40 in the world rankings to No. 20.
Piller moved ahead of Brittany Lincicome in the rankings this week and is now the fourth highest-ranked American in the world behind No. 3 Lexi Thompson, No. 4 Stacy Lewis and No. 16 Cristie Kerr.
Piller, 31, is now just five world-ranking spots away from moving within the U.S. Olympic qualifying standard.
The Olympics weren’t on Piller’s radar at year’s start.
“To be honest, I didn't even think I had a chance,” Piller said. “That's stuff you can't really focus on, because golf is one of those things where as soon as you try, it's just going to kick you right in the face. You've got to go back to, as cliché as it sounds, go back to the basics, take one fairway at a time. If it's meant to be for me to play the Olympics and International Crown, it'll happen. I'm playing great golf, and I've just got to keep riding that.”
The top two Americans in the world rankings are guaranteed to make the Olympic team. Also, any player among the top 15 in the world rankings will make the team, provided that player is also among the top four from her country trying to qualify.
Piller’s climb also has moved her within the qualifying criteria to represent the United States in the UL International Crown this summer, a biennial international team competition. If the International Crown were staged today, Piller would join Thompson, Lewis and Kerr on the U.S. team.
Olympic qualifying runs to July 11 (after the U.S. Women’s Open) and the International Crown to June 13 (after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship).
“It would be pretty awesome,” Piller said.
Piller and her husband, Martin, enjoyed a special top-five weekend. With Gerina tying for third at the Swinging Skirts, her husband, Martin, tied for fourth at the Valero Texas Open.
They will be trying to top that this week with Gerina playing the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout in Irving, Texas, and Martin playing the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. They live in Fort Worth, Texas, and were able to spend some time together Monday morning before Martin headed out again.
“Yeah, the crazy life we live,” Gerina said Tuesday from the Texas Shootout. “I caught a redeye from San Francisco back home, and he was there to pick me up in the morning. He was flying to the Zurich, but his flight wasn't until 8:30 (p.m.), so we got to hang out for the day, have breakfast and just kind of vegged out on the couch. That's kind of our way of celebrating, is going home and doing nothing. We're pretty exciting people.”
Piller says her confidence has grown since her clutch Solheim Cup performance.
“A lot,” Piller said. “Really just the fact that I can do this and I belong out here, and I am a top golfer in the world. Just really believing in myself. I know how that sounds so immature or whatever, but it's so hard to do that when you're out here. You're your own worst enemy and your own best friend. I'm just really getting comfortable with being at the top of the leaderboard, and hats off to my caddie [Brian Dilley]. He's been amazing. I could not have done this without him.”
The top 60 in the Olympic Women’s Rankings will qualify for the games in Rio de Janeiro in August. The Olympic Women’s Rankings are based on the Rolex rankings.