Top players may miss Paris 2024 Olympics: Lahiri on LIV-OWGR stand-off

Anirban Lahiri discusses Olympic qualification challenges due to LIV Golf, emphasizing the need for change in golf rankings.

Published : Mar 26, 2024 19:01 IST , Gurugram - 4 MINS READ

Anirban Lahiri of India talks to the media prior to the Hero Indian Open.
Anirban Lahiri of India talks to the media prior to the Hero Indian Open. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Anirban Lahiri of India talks to the media prior to the Hero Indian Open. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

India’s Anirban Lahiri feels many top-ranked golfers may not qualify for the Paris Olympics due to the stand-off between LIV Golf and Official World Golf Ranking, saying it could prove to be a wake-up call for the world to take some action.

The 36-year-old Lahiri plays in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf, which is not recognised by the Official World Golf Ranking, making it extremely tough for him to grab one of the 60 spots at the Games.

“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, who will be competing at the Hero India Open this week, told reporters here.

“You know, 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.

“And maybe that’s what’s needed for the world to wake up and say we need to do something. You know, there’s many ways to look at it.” Lahiri will have to earn the ranking points denied to the LIV Golf fraternity via the Asian Tour and also the Indian Open, where he will return after five years.

“Unless I play well this week and potentially one or two more events, there is not much to look forward to unfortunately. I’m trying my best obviously, that’s a big motivating factor for me to play well this week,” he said.

READ | Nelly Korda nabs another LPGA playoff win to return to number one

“I would love to go to Paris. Whether I play well or not play well doesn’t reflect in the current world golf rankings, unfortunately. But that’s how it is. So I have to do the best with whatever opportunities that I have. I can’t cry over it.

“When it (OWGR) gets fixed, how it gets fixed, does it needs to be fixed, those are different questions. Right now, I can control the next four rounds and then may be one or two event I can play, that’s what I can do, give my absolute best.” Lahiri, who has already participated in two Olympics, is currently the third Indian in the official rankings behind Shubhankar Sharma (202) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (240).

“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.

“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.

“I don’t know where my goal for the world of golf will be four years from now. So I need to focus on, as I said, potentially eight rounds or 12 rounds that I have between now and Paris that will get me there.” Lahiri played two events in February and then competed at Jeddah and Hong Kong this month in LIV but decided to skip the Macau event on the Asian Tour as his “body was feeling the burnt”.

“I feel I am playing really week. Honestly, my performance has been sporadic in LIV. I had just one good week but, by and large, I feel I played well. I haven’t scored my best. I have taken an extra week off to prepare for this week.

“I feel rested and focussed and I want to go out there and contend and be in contention on Sunday. I would love nothing more and I feel I am ready for it.” After a phenomenal 2015, which saw him win twice on the European Tour, and the T5 finish at the PGA Championship aiding his elevation to the PGA Tour, Lahiri had a comparatively quiet phase, until he finished runner-up at The Players Championship in 2022.

It was a second runner-up finish since the Indian’s run at the 2017 Memorial Tournament. He then switched to LIV Golf but a title has eluded him although he came close in Boston in 2022 and Adelaide, Bedminister and Chicago in 2023.

“It’s been a while and nobody feels that more than I do. You know the weight of I don’t know how many dozens of seconds I’ve had, lays heaviest on my shoulders. So I need to get that off my back,” said Lahiri.

“It takes me back to when I was starting my career. So even though I’ve played 15-16 years, I’m still as desperate to win this week because I have to prove it to myself. I don’t have to prove it to anybody else.

“The first time I played here was 1999, so it goes down memory lanes. I came here with fewer hairs and more grey this year, so time has passed. It has been a fantastic ride. So it is an important week for me.”

Sign in to unlock all user benefits
  • Get notified on top games and events
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign up / manage to our newsletters with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early bird access to discounts & offers to our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment