One of the most important aspects and questions regarding LIV Golf and its future is whether or not the tour will be awarded Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. LIV CEO Greg Norman sent a letter to LIV golfers on Wednesday explaining why the Saudi-backed circuit should be awarded OWGR points sooner rather than later.
LIV golfers have not received OWGR points for the circuit’s first three events.
In the letter sent to players, a copy of which was obtained by OutKick, Norman explained that LIV Golf applied for inclusion within the OWGR in early July 2022. Norman also wrote, “by any fair, objective, and impartial review, LIV players should be included in the awarded OWGR points system in the near future.”
The Aussie also explained that LIV Golf being awarded OWGR points is “necessary for the integrity, accuracy and fairness of the rankings to be upheld.”
“Anything less, in our judgment, would reflect an abdication of the OWGR Governing Board’s responsibilities as the leading standard-setting and ratings organization in golf,” Norman continued.
To further emphasize why LIV Golf should be awarded OWGR points, Norman compared the strength of field in each of the first three LIV Golf events to the marquee events held the same week on the other tours around the world.
Each of the first three LIV Golf events had stronger fields, based on the OWGR system, than the competitive tour. Only LIV Golf Portland, the second event of the season, was played opposite a PGA Tour event (John Deere Classic), the two others were compared to those week’s DP World Tour events.
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Norman also outlined that based on LIV Golf’s data and the current OWGR system, each of the three different winners LIV Golf has crowned would have considerably moved up in the World Rankings.
Henrik Stenson, the winner of LIV Golf Bedminster, would have moved up 93 places from 173 to 80 in the world if OWGR points were implemented with LIV Golf at the time.
One of the biggest knocks most point to when it comes to LIV Golf possibly being awarded OWGR points is the fact that events do not have a cut and are only 54 holes.
Norman admitted in his letter LIV Golf doesn’t meet the 14 criteria points to reach OWGR recognition, one of which is the proposed tour must comply with OWGR guidelines for a period of one year. LIV Golf’s first event was held in June of this year.
The Aussie did make note in his letter that other no-cut events, including the final two FedEx Cup Playoff events and WGC events, are currently awarded OWGR points.
Why OWGR Points Are So Important
OWGR points are used to determine exemptions and overall fields for each of the four majors.
Unless a player is a past champion or finished in a certain position in the year’s prior event or another major, a player outside a certain ranking would not make the field unless they open qualify or are handed a special invite.
Players can also punch their ticket into certain majors with a win on the PGA Tour in that same season, but all LIV golfers are currently suspended from competing on Tour.
Each major has different criteria for exemptions, but the overall gist is a player’s World Ranking matters, a lot, especially if you’re a Top 50 player in the world.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is one of eight members of the OWGR board of governors. Other members include DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, USGA CEO Mike Whan, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, Augusta National Golf Club executive director Will Jones, PGA of America executive director Seth Waugh, and Keith Waters of the International Federation of PGA Tours.
LIV golfers who had qualified were allowed to tee it up in all four majors in 2022, but it’s worth noting that the 2022 Masters was held prior to the launch of LIV Golf. It’s unknown at this time whether or not the four different governing bodies of each major championship will allow qualified LIV golfers to play in next year’s events.
LIV golfers have since dropped in the Official World Golf Ranking since joining LIV given that they haven’t been awarded points.
Norman and LIV Golf are still waiting for a response from the OWGR board of governors regarding their application’s status.
“Although there is no definitive timeframe for OWGR to respond, you may be assured that we will continue to do all that we can to advocate for a favorite response and provide clarity for each of you as soon as possible in light of the importance of OWGR not only for your eligibility into the Majors, but also their importance to many of your personal endorsements and commercial partnerships,” Norman’s letter to players read in closing.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris