Peter Dawson, chairman of the Official World Golf Rankings, has told the Associated Press the Saudi-backed tour is not eligible for points
LIV Golf has lost its bid to join the Official World Golf Rankings.
The body has confirmed it had rejected the application from the Saudi-backed tour as chairman Peter Dawson told the Associated Press it was not playing a format that “can be ranked equitably” with the other tours it represents.
Dawson said the decision to deny the 48-man league a place within the body was “technical”. LIV Golf competes over 54 holes with shotgun starts and no cuts.
“We are not at war with them,” he told the AP. “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”.
Global Golf Post reported the contents of a letter sent to LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and chief operating officer Gary Davidson, and later published on the OGWR website, where Dawson wrote: “The Board Committee met recently to again review your OWGR submission in light of your latest responses to the Committee’s questions and concerns.
“At the meeting, the Board Committee unanimously determined that at this time the LIV Tour will not be recognised as an Eligible Golf Tour in the OWGR system.”
A LIV Golf statement said the OWGR could no longer deliver on its sole objective to rank the best players across the globe.
They had applied to be included in the world rankings in July last year, following the completion of its inaugural tournaments at Centurion and Portland.
LIV Golf World Ranking decision: LIV players have fallen far down the OWGR lists
Its highest profile players have tumbled down the rankings since they left the PGA Tour and DP World Tour for the breakaway concern.
Players like Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau were inside the top 30 but are now outside the top 100. Louis Oosthuizen, who was the World No. 20 before joining LIV, is barely inside the top 400.
LIV has paid some players huge sign up fees, and offers enormous $25 million prize funds – with a winner’s cheque of $4 million for individual titles.
All of its players signed a letter last September asking to be included immediately in the OWGR system and Dawson revealed last week the organisation was close to coming to a decision.
Joining the OWGR requires complying with a set of criteria and the AP reported that Dawson, who is not part of the voting committee, said the OWGR could work around some of those requirements.
It appears, though, that efforts to open up the league by providing limited promotion, such as from the Asian Tour Order of Merit, and relegation have not gone far enough for the board, with the largely set fields from week to week believed to be a key sticking point.
Dawson told AP: “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 OWGR governing board is made up of a host of high-profile golf highflyers, including R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, USGA chief executive Mike Whan, and Augusta National executive director Will Jones.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley are also part of the board but recused themselves from the decision, along with Keith Waters, of the International Federation of PGA Tours, to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
It remains to be seen whether LIV Golf, which has two events remaining on its 2023 season, including the Team Championship at Miami later this month, will apply again for OWGR status but Dawson has said the OWGR would be “keeping this matter under review”.
— LIV Golf (@livgolf_league) October 10, 2023
LIV Golf said: “OWGR’s sole objective is to rank the best players across the globe. Today’s communication makes it 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.
“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 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.”
Reacting to the decision, DeChambeau told X account Flushing It the news was “unfortunate but on par with how things have gone the last few years”.
Bryson DeChambeau’s reaction to the OWGR decision not to award LIV Golf ranking points:
“It’s unfortunate but on par with how things have gone the past few years. To be frank, giving us spots based on how we finish during the season should be the answer. Top 12 would be a…
— Flushing It (@flushingitgolf) October 10, 2023
DeChambeau also had this to say ahead of LIV Golf Jeddah:
“It’s just been par for the course, unfortunately, and I think at this point in time now that they’re not allowing it, we would love to find another way to be integrated into the major championship system since I think we have some of the best players in the world.
“Top 12 on the list, the Money List at the end of the year or the points list at the end of the year would be, I think, obvious for the major championships to host the best players in the world at those four events each year.
“That’s really my thoughts on it. I don’t think there’s much more to be said. It’s honestly sad that they’ve done that, and people are going to say that it’s sad that we came over here, but it’s like, look, this is an amazing opportunity for every one of us.
“I think we’ve told that narrative quite a bit, and we want to continue to change and grow the game in places like Saudi Arabia, like Singapore, like Australia, numerous places we’ve all been throughout this year, and we’re going to continue to do so over the course of time.
“I think that’s what’s needed, I think it’s what’s necessary, and I think we are doing a solid job of it so far, and it’s only going to get better.”
Now have your say on this LIV Golf World Ranking bombshell
What do you think of this LIV Golf World Ranking decision? Let us know by leaving a comment on X.
We dive deep into the golf ball roll back plans!