LIV Golf will not get Official World Golf Ranking points now or in the future -- at least as currently constructed.
Following an independent review by the Official World Golf Ranking governing body, the organization behind the golf global ranking system has determined LIV Golf events do not satisfy the ranking criteria and cannot be awarded OWGR points.
The OWGR made their announcement public on Oct. 10, rejecting LIV Golf's submission entered in July 2022.
“We are not at war with them,” Peter Dawson, chairman of the OWGR board, said to the Associated Press. “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.”
LIV Golf was always facing an uphill climb with its submission, as the Saudi-owned league presents tournaments that do not tick all the boxes needed to satisfy OWGR tournament requirements. Some examples of the criteria LIV Golf did not meet at the time include:
- The Tour has to be in existence for at least two years: LIV Golf has been around since June 2022, with the playing of its first event.
- The Tour has to have a 36-hole cut line: There are no on LIV in any of their events. While PGA Tour events can be played without a cut, they are a relative minority of the schedule.
- The Tour has to have an average field size of 75 players: LIV Golf fields are 48 players, well short of the average of 75 required across a schedule. A lack of field change from event to event was a large concern for the OWGR board.
- The events are 54 holes: The OWGR does not offer full points to tours where events are exclusively 54 holes, rather capping them for a developmental tour.
- The Tour has to have a qualifying school: LIV has stated they will have a qualifying school but have not yet announced full details around one.
- The Tour doesn't have open qualifying: The OWGR wants there to be a way for players to earn their way into fields outside of a tour's standard exemption criteria. Not all PGA Tour or DP World Tour events have such qualifying either, but there are paths in the door.
In response in October 2022, LIV Golf formed a strategic alliance with the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Tour, with the latter co-sanctioning all LIV Golf events in a gambit to automatically qualify for OWGR points as MENA Tour events have been awarded OWGR points with 54-hole, no-cut formats. The OWGR balked at this, wrapping a review of this agreement under their original submission.
After LIV Golf made its submission, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, European Tour Group CEO Keith Pelley and International Federation of PGA Tours chief Keith Waters recused themselves from the LIV Golf evaluation to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Ultimately, it's unclear what this means for LIV Golf, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and any potential deal it may negotiate with the PGA Tour and European Tour Group to create a new, for-profit subsidiary called PGA Tour Enterprises with a mixture of Saudi capital and the tours' assets.
LIV Golf could choose to re-apply for consideration after making changes to qualifying criteria.