It might’ve been rejection for LIV Golf, but is the door still ajar for world ranking points? Matt Chivers breaks down what the Board Committee said to the Saudi-backed league…
It was the letter LIV Golf had been dreading since its inception.
The Saudi-backed tour won’t be granted Official World Golf Ranking points at this stage of its young existence.
LIV has bitten back with a statement of its own, claiming the OWGR can no longer deliver on their key objective of ranking the best players across the globe.
Time will inform us how the start-up circuit will react and if it ever becomes a tour fit for ranking purposes.
Following the release of the OWGR’s statement, we’ve picked out the most important points behind LIV’s rejection and how the board came to this conclusion:
A closed shop isn’t open for business
Player turnover and pathways to the LIV Golf League were key concerns for the OWGR Board Committee.
The letter said LIV’s representatives, CEO Greg Norman and COO Gary Davidson, stated ‘six or seven’ players wouldn’t be subject to relegation in 2023.
Despite four new players due to enter the fray via the Promotions Event and the Asian Tour, the OWGR wrote “the current structure is not consistent with underlying principles of fairness and meritocracy on which the OWGR system is based.”
Players with multi-year contracts are immune to relegation in 2023 should they find themselves in the bottom four places of the season-long leaderboard.
The OWGR stated the “mostly-closed style fashion” means you cannot fairly assess “what it means to win a LIV event.”
Muddying the individual and team waters
The 48-man LIV roster doesn’t just play for individual prizes worth $4 million, but they also hunt for the lion’s share of the $5 million up for grabs each week in the team format.
This was a significant issue in its OWGR application. The board are “concerned about the implications of conducting individual and team competitions simultaneously.”
This concern was compounded when at the LIV Golf Orlando event in April, Sebastian Munoz admitted to lagging a putt from 40 feet away when in contention, as his team had a one-shot lead at that stage in the final round.
“I knew we were one stroke ahead on the team, so I couldn’t go extra. I knew I couldn’t be too aggressive,” the Colombian said, reported by the Associated Press.
When the context of the team event affects how you play in the individual event, are you playing to your best ability, and scoring as low as possible?
The game isn’t up for LIV
The board has left the door open for LIV to re-apply for world ranking points, as long as the league can tick the empty boxes.
It has invited LIV to re-apply for OWGR points with modifications made to the current bid, despite this current rejection.
The OWGR advised the breakaway tour to “develop a structure that invites new players based on objective, recent performances, and relegates under-performing players more quickly and equitably.”
Golf can still be exciting without OWGR
In rejecting LIV’s application, the OWGR has made it clear LIV Golf shouldn’t be discouraged “to innovate in men’s professional golf and/or cause you to make changes you may not believe to be in the best interests of your tour and events.”
LIV Golf Adelaide was arguably the league’s best week in which they delivered an event with many interactive features that pleased thousands of Australian golf fans at The Grange.
The letter read: “The Board Committee recognises that different formats of golf can be exciting for players and fans and inclusion in the OWGR system is certainly not necessary to continue to grow a new, different approach.”
The OWGR isn’t oblivious to the bigger picture
While every writer types away and every golfer swings back and through, work is still being done to push through the framework agreement between the Public Investment Fund, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.
The OWGR says in its letter the board “will monitor the remainder of your 2023 season, how your field is constructed for 2024 and the overall men’s professional landscape.”
Could a peace deal accelerate LIV Golf’s next application for OWGR points towards success? Once again, only time will tell.
Will there ever be LIV Golf OWGR points? What do you make of this OWGR LIV Golf letter? Tell us on X!
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