LIV Golf’s application for its members to be awarded Official World Golf Ranking points for competing in its 48-player events has been rejected, according to widely circulated reports.
The OWGR board informed LIV Golf officials, including LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, of its decision today [Tuesday], confirming that LIV Golf events will continue to not be recognised as events worthy of any world ranking points, something that had been the case since LIV Golf League’s launch in June 2022.
The OWGR has cited several reasons for its decision – namely the 54-hole format, the absence of a cut, the limited access for players to join LIV, and the limited number of players relegated from the league that underperform.
“The important point is this is not about the players. LIV players are self-evidently good enough to be ranked; there is no doubt about that,” Peter Dawson, chairman of the OWGR board, is reported to have said when questioned on the decision. “This is about whether a tour whose formats are so different, and whose qualification criteria are so different, can they be ranked equitably with other tours who conform to the OWGR norm and have more competition to them than perhaps the closed shop that is LIV?”
When LIV launched 16 months ago, it boasted over 20 players in the world’s top 100. According to the latest ranking, only two LIV members are now in the top 50 – Cameron Smith (15th) and Brooks Koepka (18th) – and only six in the top 100.
As part of the framework agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, there was talk of having discussions around LIV securing OWGR points. This subsequently led PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley and Keith Waters of the International Federation of PGA Tours to take themselves out of the OWGR’s discussions about LIV’s request for OWGR points given their widely known feelings about LIV.
With this latest decision by the OWGR, LIV Golf members will now have to compete in local and sectional qualifying for the US Open and Open Championship, while only past champions are likely to qualify for the Masters and the US PGA Championship.
After being informed of the OWGR’s decision, LIV quickly issued a strongly worded statement saying that ‘professional golf is now without a true or global scoring and ranking system’.
The statement, which was unattributed to any one individual, said: “OWGR’s sole objective is to rank the best players across the globe. Today’s communication makes clear that it can no longer deliver on that objective. Players have historically remained subject to a single world ranking to qualify for Major Championships, the biggest events, and for corporate sponsor contract value. A ranking which fails to fairly represent all participants, irrespective of where in the world they play golf, robs fans, players and all of golf’s stakeholders of the objective basis underpinning any accurate recognition of the world’s best player performances. It also robs some traditional tournaments of the best fields possible.”
It went on: “Professional golf is now without a true or global scoring and ranking system. There is no benefit for fans or players from the lack of trust or clarity as long as the best player performances are not recognised. LIV will continue to strive to level set the market so fans, broadcasters, and sponsors have the assurance of an independent and objective ranking system and the pure enjoyment of watching the best golf in the world.”