Each of the 48 players who competed in last week’s LIV Golf Tournament outside of Chicago signed a letter to the official World Golf Ranking chairman asking OWGR to re-incorporate LIV Golf scores into the rankings.
The letter was sent to OWGR chairman Peter Dawson on Friday. The letter was also signed by non-playing captain Bubba Watson and reserves.
The players wrote in the letter, “To maintain credibility, as the true leaders of the sport — we urge you to take appropriate action to include LIV Golf events in the OWGR ranking calculations. “An OWGR without LIV is incomplete and inaccurate, leaving the Big 10 or the SEC out of the American college football rankings or It means leaving Belgium, Argentina and England out of the FIFA rankings.”
LIV’s players did not earn points for their finals in the first five tournaments held at the new circuit, facing two-time Open winner Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
“Some 23 tours are integrated into the OWGR universe, and LIV finds its place among them,” says the letter. “Four LIV golfers hold the number one position on the OWGR and one is currently number two. [Cameron Smith is now third, actually].
“LIV’s roster includes 21 of the last 51 winners of the four majors. The level of competition at an average LIV event is at least as good as that at an average PGA Tour event. We know because we’ve played in both. That omission of LIV athletes every week hurts the historical value of the OWGR.”
After joining LIV Golf, two-time major champion Dustin Johnson dropped from 13th to 22nd (he is now 23rd) despite finishing eighth, third, second and first in his first four events.
Other LIV golfers also placed in the OWGR, including Brooks Koepka (29th), Louis Oosthuizen (33rd) and Talor Goeck (36th).
The OWGR rankings are used to determine exemptions at the four major championships. The OWGR Board began considering LIV Golf’s application at its 150th open meeting in July at St Andrews. The board applied to incorporate LIV Golf on July 6.
OWGR board members include PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, USGA CEO Mike Wann, R&A CEO Martin Slumbers, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh, Augusta National Golf Club CEO Will Jones. And they include Keith Waters, who they represent. International PGA Tour Federation.
LIV Golfers wrote in the letter, “The case for LIV’s inclusion is strong, but we are concerned that your board members are conflicting with each other and are preventing the OWGR from functioning as intended.” Four of the eight members are affiliated with the PGA Tour, which unfortunately lists LIV Golf as a rival He looks at them. Other board members have made unfairly harsh comments about LIV, with one of them calling the organization ‘dishonest’.
“The current competitive environment makes your own judgment critical. In your careers in athletics, business and golf management, you have won a reputation for independence and integrity. Your work at the R&A and OWGR shows you how to combine tradition and innovation.”
In an earlier letter to LIV players, Norman said there are 14 requirements to qualify for OWGR accreditation and that LIV Golf does not meet all of them. One of the criteria includes the cut after 36 holes; LIV’s golf courses are 54 holes with no breaks.
But other tournaments – including the BMW Championship, Touring Championship, Hero World Challenge and World Golf Championships – have no deductions and are still awarded OWGR points.
“By any measure, it is wrong for the OWGR to deny points to LIV players relative to giving points to other tour players,” Norman wrote.
Other criteria that LIV Golf does not meet directly include having an average field of at least 75 players (LIV has 48 players in 12 four-man teams), an annual open qualifying school tour before the start of each season, a full member tour that submits the application (in LIV’s case, the Asian Tour) and A structured opportunity for at least five players on a tour that demonstrates compliance with OWGR guidelines for one year.