If the World Cup of Golf was held this week...

Mon 13 May 2013

If the World Cup of Golf was held this week...

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Kuala Lumpur, May 13: A total of 10 Asian Tour members will be in the elite 60-man field for the World Cup of Golf if the cut off for qualifying from the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) was made today.
It was announced on Sunday that this year’s edition will be played at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia from November 21-24, 2013 and will see a change in qualifying criteria with eligibility taken from the OWGR.
Up to four players can qualify, per country, if they are in the top 15 of the OWGR.  Beyond No. 15, up to a maximum of two players per country can qualify. If two or more players from a country qualify, then the country is eligible for the team competition, with the top-two players comprising the qualified team.
Based on the latest rankings, the following Asian Tour players would be in the field if the cut-off was made today:- Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), K.J. Choi (Kor), Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind), Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind), Vijay Singh (Fij), Felipe Aguilar (Chl), Juvic Pagunsan (Phi), Liang Wen-chong (Chn) and Siddikur (Ban).
Two other former Asian Tour members Bae Sang-moon of Korea and Wu Ashun of China would also be in the top-60 field.
The Asian Tour, the region’s premier Tour, offers the most OWGR points throughout the year in the region. Last year, the Asian Tour offered a total of 2,975 OWGR points to players.
Its secondary circuit, the Asian Development Tour, started to offer OWGR points from its 2013 season onwards which along with the Asian Tour now offer the best possible route for golfers in Asia to earn places in the World Cup and subsequently into the Olympics in 2016 when golf makes a welcome return.
Thai superstar Thongchai is ranked 63rd in the world as of today, courtesy of three top-10s including a fourth place finish at the recent CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters while countryman Kiradech, who currently leads the Order of Merit, is 85th thanks to his victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open in March plus three other top-10s.
Siddikur of Bangladesh Siddikur of Bangladesh
Asian Tour honorary member Choi is 86th in the world while India’s rising star Bhullar is 101st. The others are Bae (106th), honorary member Vijay Singh (118th), Jeev Milkha Singh (120th), and Pagunsan (150th).
Bhullar, touted as one of Asia’s new stars following four victories in his career, said:  “I’m really concentrating on my world rankings. At the end of the day it is all about your world rankings. The higher you go the more opportunities you get and more doors will open for you. The Asian Tour gives us that opportunity,” said Bhullar, who garnered 12 world ranking points for his runner-up finish at the Avantha Masters on home soil in February and a total of 28 points for winning the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei and Venetian Macau Open last season.
Wu and Liang, ranked 176th and 178th respectively, will also have a strong chance to represent China while Siddikur (224th) will be in line to become the first Bangladeshi to play in the World Cup as he sits inside the top-60 mark.
Wu has played in two Asian Tour events this season where he has claimed six world ranking points. Last year, the powerful Chinese won the Toshin Golf Tournament in Japan to earn 16 points while Liang has notched slightly over 10 points courtesy of a third place result at the Avantha Masters (8) and a 22nd finish at the Maybank Malaysian Open (2.09).
Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour, continues to make a name for himself as he has committed his playing career solely on the Asian Tour. He has collected over 12 points from Asian Tour events this season.
It was announced that the World Cup will boast an US$8 million total purse and returns to an individual, stroke-play competition for US$7 million, with a team component (adding the total scores of two-man teams) for US$1 million.
The qualification system for the event is similar to that which will be used in the Olympic Games, when golf returns to the program in 2016.  The field will include 60 players (no cut).
The major difference between the World Cup qualification model and that of the Olympic golf competition is that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will each be considered a separate country (for the purpose of the Olympics, those four countries compete as Great Britain). Further, the Olympic Games golf competition will not feature a team component.
Ends.