India gets direct entry in Golf World Cup

Last Updated: Jul 23, 2009, 17:59 PM IST

New Delhi: Thanks to Jeev Milkha Singh`s presence among golf`s elites, India became one of the six Asian countries to earn a direct entry at the 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup to be played in China from November 26 to 29.

The field, selected on the basis of each nation`s leading player on the Official World Golf Ranking as of June 22, is headed by Sergio Garcia - ranked number four at the cut-off date - who will represent his country, Spain, for the first time at Mission Hills.

Among the Asian countries, 42nd ranked Jeev Milkha Singh will represent India, Thongchai Jaidee will spearhead Thailand`s challenge for the second straight year, Lin Wen-tang will lead Chinese Taipei, US-based Charlie Wi will represent Korea while Ryuji Imada, who featured for Japan and finished tied third last year, will return for another crack at the prestigious team title.

China qualify automatically as host nation of the World Cup and will be represented by Liang Wen-chong who makes his fourth World Cup appearance.

Jeev cannot select his teammate for the prestigious event and Jyoti Randhawa will be his likely partner.

According to norms, the leading player, Jeev in this case, may select any player of his choice from the same country provided such player was ranked within the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking as of either 22 June 2009 or August 17, 2009.

If no player from that country was within the top 100, as is the case with India, the exempt player`s partner shall be the next highest ranked available player.

Randhawa is the second highest ranked Indian at 154.

Garcia, a five-time Ryder Cup player, can now select his teammate to compete over the course designed by countryman Jose Maria Olazabal, provided the player nominated is inside the top 100 on the World Ranking as of June 22 or the second deadline of August 17.

This will be Garcia`s fourth attempt to win the World Cup. He played in 2001, 2004 and 2005, with his best finish coming in his native Spain five years ago when he and Miguel Angel Jimenez finished just one shot behind champions England over another Olazabal-designed course, the Real Club de Golf Sevilla in Seville.

The final field of 28 nations will be completed following three Qualifying Tournaments to be played in Asia (Kuala Lumpur), Europe (Estonia) and South America (Venezuela), with three countries going through from each regional qualifier to join the 18 exempt nations and hosts, China, at Mission Hills.

Bureau Report