LIV Golf withdraws application for Official World Golf Ranking points: Report

LIV Golf withdraws application for Official World Golf Ranking points: Report


LIV Golf has withdrawn its application for Official World Golf Ranking recognition and the awarding of points for their individual tournaments, ending a 19-month process that began with the initial July 2022 submission.

Greg Norman, commissioner of LIV Golf, told players about the decision in an emailed letter, saying in part that “a resolution which protects the accuracy, credibility and integrity of the OWGR rankings no longer exists."

The Official World Golf Ranking formally declined the LIV Golf application in October 2023, citing issues with the team golf component and a lack of mobility in the league as the biggest issues in accrediting their events. OWGR chair Peter Dawson said some of the more contentious component of LIV Golf's format -- 54 holes, then 48-player fields and no cuts -- were not completely incompatible with their system.

LIV believes it has addressed player mobility concerns with their Promotions Tournament, which awarded three spots in the 2024 LIV Golf season to the top three finishers in the final day. The top-ranked player on the Asian Tour order of merit for the LIV-backed International Series, Andy Ogletree, also earned a LIV Golf spot for 2024. However, those four spots did not represent enough merit-based turnover for the OWGR, which has also raised concerns about LIV Golf being a closed league with no clear performance guidelines for determining who gets to play or signed by the league.

LIV Golf has also long stated that it believes it does not have to meet all of the stated criteria for their points to earn events, which is decided by a vote of the the OWGR board, which includes representatives from the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the major championship governing bodies. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, outgoing European Tour Group CEO Keith Pelley and Federation of PGA Tours head Keith Waters, all members of the board, recused themselves from the consideration of LIV Golf's application.

While the OWGR declined LIV Golf's application, Dawson has said LIV Golf players should be recognized by the system if LIV Golf can solve the two primary issues of turnover and qualification.

Norman, however, told players what has long been clear: after all this time, even awarding points to LIV Golf tournaments would do little to enhance their players' rankings.

“Even if LIV Golf events were immediately awarded points, the OWGR system is designed such that it would be functionally impossible for you to regain positions close to the summit of the ranking, where so many of you belong," Norman wrote.

In a simulated version of the OWGR that includes LIV Golf events, tournaments would only award in the area of 20-25 points to the winner, which is above many DP World Tour events but well below every PGA Tour event. The points would remain effectively in the same band throughout the season, ultimately hurting players even more.

However, two of the four major championships have shown a willingness to include LIV Golf players whose performance is exemplary, with the Masters and PGA Championship both inviting Joaquin Niemann to compete in their 2024 championships. Niemann won the Australian Open last year and has won two of the first three LIV Golf events this season.

Several players competing in the Saudi-owned league have gone public in saying that they were assured by LIV that they would eventually receive OWGR points to sustain their ranking position and help them earn opportunities to compete in major championships. Without those points, they now have no clear path into all four majors. The Masters invites players based on criteria but can add players at their discretion. The same is true for the PGA Championship and US Open, which has open qualifying along with the Open Championship, which also boasts an Open Qualifying Series of tournaments on various tours.

Players who signed with LIV Golf knew that they were unlikely to get OWGR points in a timely manner, if at all, and were risking that they would be largely ineligible to compete in the majors moving forward. With LIV Golf withdrawing its application, that risk becomes a permanent reality so long as those players continue to compete on LIV Golf and do not qualify or win elsewhere.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is a scratch golfer...sometimes.

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