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 pointsThe 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’.”