LIV Golf Tour: Graeme McDowell accuses governing bodies of "playing games"

Graeme McDowell has accused the Official World Golf Ranking of "playing games" over the issue of whether or not LIV Golf will get accreditation.

LIV Golf Tour: Graeme McDowell accuses governing bodies of "playing games"
LIV Golf Tour: Graeme McDowell accuses governing bodies of "playing games"

Graeme McDowell, who has joined the LIV Golf Tour, says they should drop the word "Official" from the Official World Golf Ranking if they continue to be ignored as he accused golf's governing bodies of "playing games". 

Speaking ahead of LIV Golf Jeddah, McDowell, 43, says that "most of the people in the world of golf" would now agree the strength of the LIV fields now mean that it's "impossible to ignore the talent". 

Related: Dustin Johnson jokes he regrets joining LIV

LIV Golf Tour: Graeme McDowell accuses governing bodies of

The Northern Irishman was one of the first players to tee it up in the breakaway tour in June. McDowell sat alongside Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood at Centurion Club as he faced an intense grilling over accusations he was complicit in sportswashing before the curtain-raising event. 

McDowell, who resigned his PGA Tour membership, later said he regretted being involved in this press conference, insisting that he should have just "said nothing". 

"I just didn't realise kind of just how heavily this [LIV] was going to be hammered, trying to answer questions which are unanswerable," McDowell previously told BBC Radio Northern Ireland. 

Related: Nine players who changed their mind about LIV Golf

"That's probably the only mistake I made in London at the first event when I was in my press conference – I just wish I'd said nothing.

"I just wish I just sat there and just kind of shook my head and said no comment. But it's not who I am. I always try and be truthful and try to answer questions. I shouldn't have bothered."

After Centurion, McDowell courted more headlines as he suggested LIV will be more "compelling" once the "smear campaign" was over. 

Since then, more and more high-profile players have joined LIV Golf. Cameron Smith, the 150th Open Champion, has joined Greg Norman's league for a reported $140m

More are expected to follow.

Now the hot topic is whether or not LIV Golf should have accreditation from the OWGR so their players can start qualifying for golf's four major championships via their tournaments. 

Last week, LIV Golf announced a "strategic alliance" with the little-known MENA Tour. The Middle East and North Africa Tour has not played an event since the beginning of the pandemic. 

This move was largely viewed as LIV Golf trying to pull a fast one. 

It gave Norman and company the confidence that their players could start earning world ranking points starting with their last event in Bangkok, which was won by Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra. 

However, such confidence was short-lived, much to the annoyance of Norman. 

LIV Golf Tour: Graeme McDowell accuses governing bodies of

McDowell, who sat alongside Johnson and Harold Varner III, was asked what he had heard about the current situation and what assurances he has been given from the top LIV Golf brass.

"We all agree and I think most people in the world of golf would agree that the field out here is to a certain strength now where it's impossible to ignore the talent that's out here," said McDowell, who was instrumental in helping Team Europe win the 2010 Ryder Cup. 

"This guy standing in the middle of the three of us [Johnson] ... if his world ranking is inaccurate, then the whole system is inaccurate.

"So the only assurances we get from LIV is that we are ticking all the boxes that we can tick and continue to do what is necessary for the OWGR to look at us the right way.

Related: PGA Tour says let all LIV players compete in the majors

"You know, hopefully it's inevitable, but the longer it goes on, the games that are being played, you know, all we want is to have a fair core, if you like, to recognize exactly what it is that we are doing out here.

"Like I said, I feel like LIV tried to do everything they possibly can to be legitimate in the eyes of the OWGR. We've got some quality, quality players out here."

He added: "The word "official" has to go away from OWGR if they don't take care of the players out here."

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