MENA Tour chief lashes out over LIV decision: "None of this was communicated!"

MENA Tour commissioner David Spencer has criticised the OWGR over their decision not to immediately allow LIV Golf players to earn ranking points. 

Ben Smith's picture
Fri, 7 Oct 2022
MENA Tour chief lashes out over LIV decision: "None of this was communicated!"

MENA Tour commissioner David Spencer has hit out at the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) over the governing body's decision to not immediately allow LIV Golf players in Bangkok to start earning points.  

In what was a huge surprise to the golf world and no doubt a dig towards the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, a "strategic alliance" was announced between Greg Norman's enterprise and the Middle East and North Africa Tour. 

Norman's LIV believed they had found a loophole to allow their players to start earning world ranking points in their invitational events, thus enabling their fields to still be able to qualify for golf's four major championships. 

It appeared that Brooks Koepka's wife, Jena Sims, was one of the first to break the news. 

However, the chief executive of the OWGR, Peter Dawson, released a statement saying the governing body had "insufficient notice" to review these proposed changes before LIV's next two events in Jeddah and their $50m season-ending Tour Championship in Miami. 

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Scroll down to read the MENA Tour's announcement in full...

Chief of Spencer's complaints was the claim that throughout conversations with the OWGR, LIV Golf tournaments "would be treated" like any other MENA Tour event. 

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"We have had various communications with OWGR since submitting our 2022/23 schedule, MENA Tour handbook, exemption criteria and our field ahead of our opening event of our new season which tees off today," he said. 

"None of this communication pointed towards any technical reason for the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok to be treated any differently to any MENA Tour event, every one of which has received OWGR since we were accepted into the OWGR framework in 2016." 

The MENA Tour's statement in full:

"We have had various communications with OWGR since submitting our 2022/23 schedule, MENA Tour handbook, exemption criteria and our field ahead of our opening event of our new season which tees off today. 

"None of this communication pointed towards any technical reason for the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok to be treated any differently to any MENA Tour event, every one of which has received OWGR since we were accepted into the OWGR framework in 2016. 

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"For absolute clarity, the OWGR itself defines a limited field tournament as a tournament which has less than 30 qualified players. Furthermore, the MENA Tour has always had the OWGR's blessing to stage 54-hole tournaments. 

"The OWGR states: 'The primary objective of the ranking is to maintain, review, update, administer and promote the recognition of a system that fairly ranks the relative performance of golfers participating in the leading men's professional tournaments throughout the world.'

"Clearly, the MENA Tour's first event of the 2022/23 season, the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok, is one of those tournaments and accordingly should be included in this week's OWGR events. Not including our event in this week's OWGR render the results and subsequent player movements inaccurate. 

"As per the OWGR Guidelines, we will be lodging our field for the LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah prior to the deadline of October 12. I also want to wish our 48 MENA Tour Members who are teeing off in Bangkok this morning all the very best for our first tournament of the 2022/23 season and assure all of our members that we will continue to work tirelessly to resolve this situation with the OWGR. 

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"The MENA Tour's guiding principle of maximising playing opportunities and pathways for our members and growing the great game of golf remains unchanged."

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