Cameron Smith could get his hands on a $28m bonus in Jeddah this week but his slide down the world rankings will continue regardless after LIV’s request for world ranking points was officially denied 15 months after it was made by Greg Norman.
Smith, who is vying for the season-long individual title at the second last LIV event in Jeddah, has dropped to 15 after being No.2 when he won the 2022 British Open and the move will also hit his Olympic aspirations.
Official World Golf Rankings president Peter Dawson revealed there was “no way” to give LIV events ranking points “which would be fair and equitable to the 24 currently eligible tours” in a hammer blow to the Saudi-backed tour.
“It is unfortunate that no way to include LIV Golf in the ranking could be found which would be fair and equitable to the 24 currently eligible tours and their thousands of playing members,” Dawson said.
“Keeping this matter under review, OWGR will continue to monitor developments in men’s professional golf as a whole and at LIV in particular.”
In a lengthier letter written to LIV boss Norman, Dawson said it was a “unanimous decision” to deny LIV, which has 54-hole no-cut events, their request for points.
“The board committee met recently to again review your OWGR submission in light of your latest responses to the committee’s questions and concerns,” Dawson wrote in the letter.
“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.”
The move from LIV towards promotion and relegation for players also counted against the tour for ranking points inclusion, as did the team aspect of the events, which Norman had trumpeted as the tour’s major selling point.
“The board continues to be concerned about the implications of conducting individual and team competitions simultaneously,” the letter stated.
The future of LIV remains clouded with a December 31 decision looming to confirm how the PGA Tour’s new partnership with the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which backs the tour, will look.
There is speculation the PIF is reluctant to fund both, although Norman, who has been quiet since the deal, told LIV staff they would continue as normal in 2024.
Smith, who has won twice this year on the LIV tour but seen his world ranking slump, albeit not as far as LIV tour mates, including former world No.1 Dustin Johnson, conceded his Olympic aspirations for the Paris 2028 Games could be hit by the rankings rejection.
“I don’t think I have looked at the rankings but it’s something I am conscious of,” Smith said recently.
“A lot of the other boys in LIV have slid pretty dramatically (on the rankings). I don’t know what it would take for me to make it, but it’s definitely something I am thinking about.”
Projections from ranking specialists have Smith slipping outside the world’s top 60 by July next year, which would mean he misses the chance to be a dual Olympian after teaming up with LIV teammate Marc Leishman in Tokyo.
Smith will play for ranking points at the Australian Open and PGA in November and December.