September 20, 2022

Fifty members of LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed tour which launched in June, have jointly issued a signed statement requesting that LIV Golf tournaments earn points towards the Official World Golf Ranking.

As things currently stand, LIV Golf tournaments do not qualify for ranking points, meaning that players who have only taken part in LIV Golf events since its launch are slipping down the world rankings, leaving some in danger of missing out on qualifying for the Majors and the Olympics.

The OWGR, which was first established in 1986, ranks players based on their position in individual tournaments over a rolling two-year period, taking into account the strength of the field. New rankings are calculated each week. In 2022, the results from 23 global tours factored into the world rankings, but have not included those from the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which has so far held five events – one in the UK and four in the USA, with three more due to take place this year, and 14 tournaments planned for next season.

The governing board of the OWGR is headed by chairman Peter Dawson, the former chief executive of the R&A, and has its headquarters at the European Tour Group’s offices at Wentworth Club in Surrey. There are seven other directors, including representatives from the PGA of America, the International Federation of PGA Tours, the USGA, the PGA Tour, Augusta National, the R&A and the DP World Tour.

In a letter addressed to Mr Dawson, the 50 signatories, including world no.2 Cameron Smith and two-time Major winner Dustin Johnson, who has slipped down from 13th to 22nd in the world ranking since moving to LIV Golf, have demanded that the results of LIV Golf events be included in OWGR’s ranking calculations on a retrospective basis.

LIV golfers are asking for their performances in LIV Golf events to qualify for world ranking points

The letter insists that to leave LIV Golf results out of the OWGR would be the equivalent to ‘leaving Belgium, Argentina and England out of the FIFA rankings’.

“Every week that passes without the inclusion of LIV athletes undermines the historical value of OWGR,” the statement continues. “The case for LIV’s inclusion is strong, but we have concerns that members of your governing board are conflicted and are keeping the OWGR from acting as it should. Four of the eight members have connections to the PGA Tour, which unfortunately views LIV Golf as an antagonist. Other members of the board have made unfairly harsh remarks about LIV, with one of them calling the organisation ‘not credible’.”

The letter calls on Mr Dawson to abide by the OWGR’s mission to “administer and publish, on a weekly basis, a transparent, credible, and accurate ranking based on the relative performances of players”.

“How can such a system possibly exclude players competing at such high levels against some of the strongest fields of the year for large purses, at such high-profile events?”, the statement went on.

LIV Golf formally applied to join the OWGR in mid-July, but so far no decision has been made, leading LIV Golf officials to suggest that the OWGR’s board is deliberately dragging out the situation in order to harm LIV golfers’ standing in the ranking.

The statement ended: “We hope the story we read today about the decision being slow walked so LIV golfers will slide down and to harm LIV is not accurate. We call on you to render a positive decision quickly – for the benefit of the integrity of the rankings, the game and all of us who love the sport. After all, the fans deserve rankings that are inclusive and accurate. Failure to include 48 of the world’s best golfers would mean the fans are being denied what they deserve.”

Speaking earlier this month, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said “If they [the OWGR] wake up at the end of the year and Dustin Johnson is 102 in the world, is that not a laughing stock to the OWGR? There’s two ways they can go: they can either fold, or they include LIV into OWGR.”

No official comment has so far been forthcoming from either Mr Dawson or any other representatives of the OWGR.

The post LIV golfers issue plea for events to earn world ranking points appeared first on Golf News.

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