LIV Golf’s bid to be recognised by the sport’s global rankings body has been rejected.
The Global Golf Post first reported that Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) had turned down LIV’s request due to the circuit’s 54-hole no-cut format and limited access for players to join the venture.
The report said OWGR president Peter Dawson had informed LIV chief executive Greg Norman of the decision in a letter sent on Wednesday.
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“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 issue of whether LIV players should be granted rankings points has been a thorny subject of debate since the lavishly funded Saudi Arabia-backed circuit plunged golf into an acrimonious civil war last year.
Rankings points were seen as a crucial step in LIV’s developments, giving its players the chance to secure qualification for major championships.
Norman went to extraordinary lengths in his battle to get LIV players recognised on the world rankings — and Wednesday’s announcement is another hammer blow in Norman’s turbulent reign as the start-up’s boss.
Norman’s future has hung in the balance this year after it emerged the historic cease-fire deal between the PGA Tour and LIV’s financial backers, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, happened without him.
Dawson told Global Golf Post that OWGR’s decision was not aimed at punishing players who had joined LIV.
“This is entirely technical. OWGR has no hostility toward LIV whatsoever,” Dawson was quoted as saying.
“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?”
LIV chief Norman had argued forcefully for his circuit’s events to be given ranking status, saying that without it “the integrity and accuracy of the rankings themselves are severely compromised.”
The PGA Tour stunned world golf in June after announcing a shock agreement with the LIV’s Saudi paymasters aimed at ending the sport’s two-year civil war.
However firm details of how the “new collectively owned, for-profit entity” that will see the PGA Tour, Europe’s DP World Tour and LIV Golf merge have yet to be divulged.
— with AFP