You'll see less Asian representation in 2028 Olympics due to flawed golf rankings: Kapur

You'll see less Asian representation in 2028 Olympics due to flawed golf rankings: Kapur

New Delhi, Nov 24 (PTI) Star Indian golfer Shiv Kapur is worried that Indian and other Asian players will find it increasingly difficult to qualify for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics due to the 'flawed' world ranking system.

The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) was revamped in August last year to make it more equitable but has been criticised by many top players, including Tiger Woods.

'Look, I think the world ranking system in general is flawed at the moment. All the other tours other than the PGA Tour are receiving way fewer points,' Kapur, who was near Gurugram for the Marriott Bonvoy Golf Tournament, told PTI in a freewheeling interview.

'A good example of that is Talor Gooch, who's the player of the year on LIV but the number one player on LIV is ranked 278 in the world. I mean, that's not a true reflection of what the world ranking system is.' Players competing in LIV Golf, which was launched in June 2022, don't get ranking points as the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) are concerned about the format of the Saudi Arabia-backed league, which is a 54-hole, 48-player, locked-field concept.

Olympic qualification depends on OWGR with players inside the top 60 by June 2024 making the cut for the Paris Games. India's top golfers Subhankar Sharma and Anirban Lahiri are currently ranked 47th and 48th respectively.

Kapur, a two-time European Challenge Tour champion, feels that Lahiri, who also plays in the LIV golf, won't face difficulty in sealing the berth for Paris but going forward it could be difficult for other Asian players.

'I think he would be fine for the Olympics in 2024 because the way the world rankings have gone down. I think for the Paris Olympics he will be fine,' he said.

'But going forward, players from India and from other Asian countries...I think they will feel the real impact. The new world ranking system only came into effect in 2022. So, it takes two years for the cycle to complete.

'So for 2024, we'll probably be able to field the team in the Olympics. But I worry about 2028. I think by that time, you'll see less and less Asian representation in the Olympics, because of the way the world ranking is going,' said Kapur.

According to the new OWGR, points will be assigned on the basis of the strength of the field, considering the world rankings of all the players in the tournament, which means stronger fields will offer more points than weaker fields.

'So (in Olympics) you'll have players playing on the PGA Tour, whether they choose to change the system for the next Olympics, I don't know,' added the Arjuna awardee.

Kapur, however, understands the rationale behind OWGR's decision to reject LIV Golf's bid to have its players earn ranking points.

'It's never good to have the world of golf fractured and to have this division in the tour between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf and the European Tour. It's a bit like if you remember when there was ICL and IPL.

'I see the side of not giving them (LIV) world ranking points, because it's a 54-hole, no-cut event, plus the barriers to entry are at your whims and fancies. So, it is a bit of a closed shop.

'So, to not have world ranking points is justified because, otherwise, any player that gets a LIV contract is pretty much-guaranteed world ranking points in a limited field with 48 players competing each week,' he added.

Taking two months off to recover from injury =========================== The 41-year-old, who has now shifted to Dubai, said he would be taking a couple of months off to regain his fitness following an injury-plagued season.

'I've had some ongoing injury troubles. Post a fractured rib, I had another shoulder injury. So, I've had two cortisone injections on my shoulder.

'Injuries have plagued me during the last year and a half. So, unfortunately, I haven't been able to play as much as I would have liked to. Currently, I'm taking the next two months off to rehab and get ready for next season. The plan is to start next season fully fit.' 'The good thing about injuries is that they give you time to reassess but the downside is you miss competing. Hopefully, the next six to eight weeks, with my whole rehab programme, I'll be ready for next year,' Kapur signed off. PTI ATK UNG ATK

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