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USA Today Sports Media Group
Adam Woodard

Graeme McDowell on LIV Golf not earning OWGR points: ‘The word ‘Official’ has to go away’ from rankings

Graeme McDowell didn’t mince words when he addressed LIV Golf’s ongoing quest to earn Official World Golf Ranking points.

“We all agree and I think most people in the world of golf would agree that the field out here is to a certain strength now where it’s impossible to ignore the talent that’s out here,” said McDowell ahead of LIV’s final regular season event this week at Royal Greens Country Club in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“The word ‘Official’ has to go away from OWGR if they don’t take care of the players out here.”

McDowell’s argument centered around Dustin Johnson, who wrapped up LIV’s season-long individual championship last week in Bangkok to claim the $18 million bonus prize on top of the $12 million he made over the previous six events thanks to five top-10 finishes and a win in Boston (not to mention four straight team victories worth an additional $750,000 per event).

“If (Johnson’s) world ranking is inaccurate, then the whole system is inaccurate,” said McDowell.

“We’re going to get world ranking points. Just right now it’s another way,” added Johnson. “If we wait too long, all of our rankings are going to drop so much, it’s not going to matter. We are hoping (the OWGR) do the right thing, and all of us hope to hear in the next week or so and this will all go away.”

Don’t hold your breath.

The OWGR announced LIV wouldn’t receive points for its Bangkok or Jeddah events after the upstart circuit led by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund formed a “strategic alliance” with the developmental MENA Tour in an attempt to force the OWGR to grant points. The MENA Tour was granted OWGR points in 2016, five years after it was founded in 2011.

McDowell and Johnson were joined by Harold Varner III for their pre-event press conference in the Kingdom – the trio is the three past winners of the Saudi International event held at Royal Greens – and the 32-year-old who’s known for honestly speaking his mind had a different take on LIV’s struggle to earn points.

“For me, I think we knew what we were getting into. I think it’s easy to sit here and say what could happen, what should happen. But obviously, for me, I knew what was going to happen. Like, it wasn’t going to be easy,” he explained. “I think the people at LIV did an unbelievable job … because I don’t know about the check marks. Honestly, I could care less. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew what could happen in my career and I accept that.

“I’ve had a great time out here. So the world ranking thing, it’s just been a part of golf for so long, and now all of a sudden some feathers have been ruffled. It’s funny, though, I think. But it is what it is.”

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