South Korea has announced to use world ranking positions to pick its pros for the upcoming golf competition in the Asian Games given that professional golfers now can participate for the first time this year.
According to the Korea Golf Association (KGA), the amateur spots will be filled through trials scheduled for next month.
The Asian Games to be held at the Sept. 10-25 in Hangzhou, China, will see the men’s golf tournament feature four players per team for men and three players per side for women.
Earlier in January, the KGA had that the men’s national team will have two pros and two amateurs, while the women’s team will be made up of one pro and two amateurs.
Golf made its Asian Games debut in 1982 and had been only open to amateurs until this year.
While the new opportunity for professionals at the regional competition has major implications for South Korean male players, as winning a gold medal at the Asian Games will grant them an exemption from the mandatory military service if they haven’t already completed it.
Currently, as of this week, the top two South Korean players in the world rankings are Im Sung-jae (No. 24) and Kim Si-woo (No. 54), neither of whom has completed the military duty.
The deadline to finalize Asian Games golf entries is the end of April, and the KGA mentioned that it will use the rankings as of April 25 to set the national teams. If an eligible pro decides not to compete in Hangzhou, then the next-highest player will take that spot.
The KGA as for the two remaining amateur places on both the men’s and women’s teams, will fill one spot each with the winners of the inaugural KGA National Amateur Championships this spring: March 28-April 1 for men and April 4-8 for women.
The one final amateur place for the men’s and women’s teams will be given to the winner of the Olympic trials later in the year.
The Asian Games golf competition will have both individual and team events over four rounds of stroke play.