Rahm says golf rankings not a ‘good system’ after LIV pulls out

Rahm says golf rankings not a ‘good system’ after LIV pulls out
Rahm says golf rankings not a ‘good system’ after LIV pulls out

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - HONG KONG: Masters champion Jon Rahm said Wednesday that the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) was not “a good system” after LIV Golf formally withdrew its application to join.

LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman on Tuesday sent a letter to players, seen by AFP, saying the Saudi-funded breakaway circuit had ended its efforts to be accepted for world rankings recognition that began in July 2022.

“It’s now clear that the best way forward for LIV as a league and you as LIV golfers is not through the current ranking system,” Norman said.

“A resolution which protects the accuracy, credibility and integrity of the OWGR rankings no longer exists.”

The OWGR, whose rankings are used to decide exemptions into golf’s four major championships, denied LIV Golf’s bid last October.

“I’m going to go back to what I said two years ago. I didn’t think it was a good system back then,” Rahm told reporters ahead of LIV Hong Kong, which begins on Friday.

“If anything, the more time goes on, the more it proves to be wrong,” added the Spaniard, who only left the PGA Tour for LIV in December and is still ranked world No. 3.

Fellow major champion Bryson DeChambeau said it was incumbent on everyone running the game to find common ground.

“The way I think about it is we need to find a collective way,” said DeChambeau. “We should focus on having the best players in the majors.

“All the governing bodies, everybody, come together, sit down and figure this out. Because we need to do this for the fans.”

With LIV Golf players getting no points from the circuit’s 54-hole events, many of the big names that defected from the PGA Tour have tumbled down the rankings.

Only four of LIV’s 54-player roster are in this week’s OWGR top 50, led by Spain’s Rahm.

The OWGR denied LIV’s application citing concerns that included limited paths to joining the tour and the aspect of simultaneous team and individual competition.

LIV made adjustments, Norman wrote, but “the OWGR has shown little willingness to productively work with us.”

Norman said LIV players have been snubbed for so long that it would be difficult for them to be properly rated even if OWGR began assigning points now for LIV events.

LIV and PGA Tour players compete against each other at majors, with many LIV players having earned their way into the fields at golf’s four top events based on previous achievements.

The majors can make exceptions and issue their own invitations, as has been done this year with Joaquin Niemann.

The Chilean is arguably the hottest player in golf currently, having won two out of the first three LIV tournaments this season.

He also won the Australian Open in December to earn a spot in the British Open and has been given special invitations into next month’s US Masters and the US PGA Championship in May.

“Now they’ve given one player a chance before you know it there will be a solution,” said Rahm. “I think it’s opening the door slightly.

“If anybody in this world doesn’t think ‘Joaco’ (Niemann) deserves to be in the top 10 or doesn’t know that he’s a top player in the world, I don’t know what game you’re watching.”

DeChambeau had a concrete suggestion for a way forward.

“Just invite a certain amount of players on our points list (to the majors) based on how they did the year before,” said the 2020 US Open champion.

“They do it with (the PGA) Tour Championship, right? Very simple.”

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