LIV Golf Standoff Threatens Olympic Hopes for Top Golfers

LIV Golf Standoff Threatens Olympic Hopes for Top Golfers

India’s top golfer Anirban Lahiri has expressed concern that the ongoing standoff between LIV Golf and the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) could prevent many top-ranked players from qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Lahiri, who currently plays in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf, is facing an uphill battle to earn enough ranking points to secure one of the 60 spots available for the Games. The OWGR does not recognize LIV Golf events, making it extremely difficult for players like Lahiri to accumulate the necessary points.

“There’s no point in speculating on what ifs. The reality of the situation is what it is. And within that framework, you have to find a way to qualify,” said Lahiri.

Lahiri believes that the current situation could serve as a wake-up call for the golf world to address the issue. “It might be a situation where a lot of really good golfers are going to be in the top 10, who could be playing for their countries, don’t make it to Paris,” he said. “And maybe that’s what’s needed for the world to wake up and say we need to do something.”

Despite the challenges, Lahiri remains determined to qualify for the Olympics. He will be competing in the Hero India Open this week, hoping to earn valuable ranking points. “Unless I play well this week and potentially one or two more events, there is not much to look forward to unfortunately,” he said.

Lahiri, who has participated in two previous Olympics, is currently the third-ranked Indian golfer behind Shubhankar Sharma and Gaganjeet Bhullar. He is eager to make a strong showing in Paris, but acknowledges that the current ranking system presents a significant obstacle.

“I had two goes at it (Olympics), I have a whole list of excuses for not playing well (laughs) but then let bygones be bygones,” he said. “It’s like a major championship, right? You want to have as many starts at majors as possible to contend and to win. So it’s the same thing. The Olympics are fewer and much further in between.”

Lahiri’s comments highlight the ongoing tension between LIV Golf and the established golf ecosystem. The OWGR’s refusal to recognize LIV Golf events has created a divide in the sport, with some players choosing to join the lucrative Saudi-backed league while others remain loyal to the traditional tours.

LIV Golf Withdraws World Ranking Application

LIV Golf Withdraws World Ranking Application

The Great White Shark, LIV Golf, has withdrawn its application for recognition by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). CEO Greg Norman informed players of the decision, citing the OWGR’s unwillingness to work with LIV.

LIV’s initial application in July 2022 was rejected due to its unique format and lack of a path for players to qualify. The OWGR board maintained that it could not fairly compare LIV to other tours with more open tournaments.

The withdrawal has significant implications for LIV players, as the world ranking is used to determine eligibility for the majors and the Olympics. Top players like Cameron Smith and Tyrrell Hatton may struggle to qualify for these prestigious events.

Despite LIV’s efforts to create a more open qualifying system, the players are currently far removed from the top of the rankings. Only four LIV players are in the top 50, and even if adjustments were made, it would be challenging for them to make up ground.

The withdrawal also highlights the ongoing tension between LIV and the established golf ecosystem. The OWGR board, which includes representatives from the majors, has maintained that its decision was technical, not political. However, LIV has accused the board of bias and a lack of transparency.

Meanwhile, Gary Woodland has been honored with the Ben Hogan Award for his return to golf following brain surgery. The former U.S. Open champion underwent a serious operation to remove a lesion pressing on his brain.

In other news, Angela Stanford has received an exemption to the Chevron Championship, extending her consecutive LPGA major streak to 98. The USGA has also acquired memorabilia related to Charlie Sifford, the first Black player to win on the PGA Tour.

Back to Top

Search For Products

Product has been added to your cart