OWGR officially says NO to LIV Golf but admits fault to system

The OWGR has officially denied LIV Golf's request to receive official world golf ranking points.

LIV Golf
LIV Golf

LIV Golf has once again been hung out to dry by the OWGR after the organisation refused the breakaway Tour's latest attempts to earn official world ranking points. 

In a letter received by LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and chief operating officer Gary Davidson, the OWGR made it clear that it can't grant the Tour points due to its shortened format and lack of promotion or relegation. 


The letter that was sent on Tuesday morning by OWGR president Peter Dawson said:

"The Board Committee met recently to again review your OWGR submission in light of your latest responses to the Committee’s questions and concerns. At the meeting, the Board Committee unanimously determined that at this time the LIV Tour will not be recognised as an Eligible Golf Tour in the OWGR system.”

Since its inception in 2022, world ranking points have been a real issue for LIV Golf, with a number of players having been reassured that, in time, the points would be available so they could qualify for major championships throughout the year. 

Greg Norman
Greg Norman

However, this recent setback will undoubtedly have LIV organisers and players alike asking questions ahead of LIV Jeddah, which starts this Friday.

As things stand, only two LIV Golf players sit inside the world's top 50, both of whom have won major championships in recent years. 2022 Open Championship winner Cam Smith is currently ranked #16 in the world, while five-time major champion Brooks Koepka currently sits at #18. 

With the majority of LIV Golf players only taking part in major championships outside of the LIV schedule, there have been some truly staggering drops in the rankings. Former World #1 Dustin Johnson currently sits 121st, while Lee Westwood has dropped as far as 565th.

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson

Speaking with Global Golf Post after the delivery of the letter on Tuesday morning, Dawson clarified that there is no bad blood between the OWGR and LIV Golf and also acknowledged that the world ranking system does suffer due to LIV Golf not qualifying.

Dawson said:

“This is entirely technical. OWGR has no hostility toward LIV whatsoever.
“It diminishes the rankings if players like Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau are not included. It would also diminish the ranking if the ranking rigor were reduced to include them
“The important point is, this is not about the players. LIV players are self-evidently good enough to be ranked; there is no doubt about that. This is about, should a tour whose formats are so different and whose qualification criteria are so different, can they be ranked equitably with other tours who conform to the OWGR norm and have more competition to them than perhaps the closed shop that is LIV?”

After much deliberation, the OWGR cited two key issues that were critical to declining LIV's application for world ranking points. 

Those were the 54-hole no-cut limited field team format and the lack of access granted to players attempting to join the Tour, as well as suitable relegation for those that underperform. 

In the letter to LIV Golf officials, Dawson added:

"The Board Committee has not made a specific determination what that adjustment might be and will not do so while there are other unresolved deficiencies which render the performance comparisons with players playing in existing OWGR Tour events extremely difficult.”

Dawson then went on to explain the organisation's ruling when in discussion with Global Golf Post, saying:

“Some of the format issues – 54 holes, no cut, 48 players – is capable of being dealt with mathematically in the system,” Dawson said. “Things that can’t be are team golf and individual golf [together].
“But the main one is qualification and relegation criteria that apply. With contracts and team captains, there are many ways to stay on the LIV tour even if you are not playing well.
“If LIV could find a way to come up with a more open competition style and relegation, we would certainly consider that. There should be many more vacancies than perhaps there are. I don’t think it’s fair to the other 24 eligible tours and the thousands of players trying to get a start each week.”

This breaking news has already caused quite a stir online, with one critic of the decision claiming the OWGR has "lost all credibility'.

Fans of the decision, however, have jumped to the OWGR's defence, sighting LIV Golf's format as an obvious sticking point.

While Dawson was clear on the committee's decision, he did admit, when speaking to Global Golf Post, that the system does need fixing.

He added:

“It’s very unfortunate. We are now ranking players who play on tours that conform to OWGR criteria. That means some players aren’t being ranked playing LIV events. That’s diminishing the rankings. No doubt about that. We need to get it fixed.”

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