[PHOTO: Eurasia Sport Images]

Cameron Smith has conceded he may have to travel to the far corners of Asia in 2024 to keep alive his dreams of playing golf in next year’s Olympics in Paris.

One of the consequences of Smith’s 2022 defection to LIV Golf—which had its application to receive Official World Golf Rankings points for its no-cut, 54-hole events denied in October—has been his plummet down the OWGR. The problem is, the Olympics uses the OWGR as a basis to determine who qualifies to compete in its event.

When Australian star Smith joined LIV in September 2022, he was ranked No.2 in the world and the reigning Open champion with six PGA Tour wins to his credit. Now, he sits 18th—and only after a runner-up the previous week in the Asian Tour’s Hong Kong Open.

Smith has performed admirably on his new tour and at the majors in 2023. He won LIV’s London and Bedminster events and finished second on its season-long points list. Smith also recorded top-10 finishes at the PGA Championship (T-9) at Oak Hill and the U.S. Open (fourth) at LACC this year.

But it may count for little if he doesn’t perform well in the 2024 majors, probably the only tournaments he’ll play where he can earn world-ranking points. The Olympics will automatically take the top 15 golfers on the OWGR to Paris, with a maximum of four per country. Outside the top 15, two players per country can be selected to fill the 60-player field.

As it stands on the rankings, Australia’s team would be Smith (18) and Jason Day (21). But as his ranking continues to drop, Smith could be overtaken by Day and possibly Cameron Davis (44) or Min Woo Lee (45). Both those Australians play on the PGA Tour and have a much easier path to improve their rankings. Smith, who played at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo alongside Marc Leishman, desperately wants to compete in the Games again. The cut-off for qualifying is June 17 for the men’s competition, the Monday after the U.S. Open.

“I definitely want to be there, mate; 100 percent,” the 30-year-old said at this week’s Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland in Brisbane. “I know the criteria, I don’t know if that can change, but I’ve got these couple of events here [the Australian PGA and the Australian Open, which are co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and therefore receive heightened world ranking points] and probably more looks again in the [2024] majors, so hopefully I can keep that ranking up and wear the (Australian national) coat of arms on the chest again. It’s pretty special.”

A solution, albeit a taxing one, is to add more Asian Tour events to his 2024 schedule in the lead-up to the June cut-off. LIV Golf has invested $US300 million into the Asian Tour, which does receive world ranking points. In turn, the tour created the International Series, which typically has a handful of LIV players at each of its events.

“Yeah, I think I would,” Smith said of adding Asian Tour events to his schedule. “But I think that’s a kind of wait-and-see type of thing. Hopefully, like you said, these couple of events down here can do plenty for me and those majors can definitely lift it up a lot.”