Open champion and LIV golfer Cameron Smith says the sport’s world ranking system is becoming “obsolete”.
The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) board does not currently award points to LIV Golf events, although the new circuit has submitted an application.
World ranking positions help determine whether a player is eligible to play in the annual four men’s majors.
Smith’s Open win gives him exemptions for all majors, but he has slipped from second to fourth in the rankings.
“For sure, it hurts,” said the 29-year-old Australian who won the Claret Jug in July and joined the LIV circuit at the culmination of the PGA Tour season in late August.
“I was really close to getting to number one, and that was definitely something I wanted to tick off.
“When you rock up at a tournament, you know who you have to beat, whether there is a world ranking or not. There are generally seven or eight guys that are in that field that you know are going to put up a pretty good fight.
“However, the longer this stuff goes on, the more obsolete those rankings become. Do we need them? It would be nice, but you know who you’ve got to beat when you get on the golf course.”
Other top players who have switched to LIV have plummeted down the rankings with former world number one Dustin Johnson, LIV’s individual champion in 2022, now 46th and 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau down at 96th.
All LIV Golf players have joined the Middle East and Africa (Mena) Tour after a strategic alliance was formed to allow players to earn points, but the OWGR has yet to approve it.
Smith, Johnson and DeChambeau are among the LIV golfers who are lining up at the Asian Tour’s season-opening Saudi International, which starts on Thursday.
The LIV series has caused deep divisions in the sport, with the PGA Tour banning players that compete in the fledgling circuit’s events, while a legal hearing on whether LIV players can compete on the European-based DP World Tour will take place from 6 February.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund bankrolls the series with critics claiming they are “sportswashing” in an attempt to divert attention from their record on human rights.