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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY: LIV Golf league’s application to become a part of the Official World Golf Ranking has been denied again.
In a letter to LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman on Tuesday, the OWGR said its committee had “unanimously determined” that the tour should not be included in the OWGR ranking at this point.
The Public Investment Fund-backed tour, which features 48 players in 12 four-man teams and is held in 14 cities across the globe, first applied for OWGR recognition in July 2022.
The new league is quicky gaining popularity since it guarantees the presence of leading golfers, such as Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, in whichever part of the world it visits.
The OWGR board pointed to two factors in its decision. First is the size of the field and the fact that it remains the same throughout the year; and, second, there is a limited churn of players in the league by way of relegation for those who underperform.
In response, LIV Golf released a statement questioning the validity of OWGR.
“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,” it said.
“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.
“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 recognized.”
LIV Golf added that it will “continue to strive to level set the market so that 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.”
In the absence of points, LIV Golf League now has just two players in the top 50 of the OWGR (Australia’s Smith at No. 15 and the reigning PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka at No. 18). When it started in June last year, it had 12 players in the top 50.
OWGR points are important, as all major championships and events such as the Olympics use it as the qualifying criterion in determining their fields.
In a statement, Peter Dawson, chairman of the OWGR board, said: “We are not at war with them. This decision not to make them eligible is not political. It is entirely technical. LIV players are self-evidently good enough to be ranked. They’re just not playing in a format where they can be ranked equitably with the other 24 tours and thousands of players trying to compete on them.
“Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia — of course, they should be in the ranking. We need to find a way to get that done. I hope that LIV can find a solution not so much their format — that can be dealt with through a mathematical formula — but the qualification and relegation.”
The decision comes even though the PGA Tour and PIF have reached an agreement to work together. That agreement is yet to be ratified by the PGA Tour members.
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