LIV Golf chiefs appear to have been sent a subtle message by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) body in their bid to legitimise the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit.
LIV's pursuit of world ranking point status has become a key battleground in golf's ongoing civil war as the venture's CEO and firebrand Greg Norman aims to establish the fledging series as a genuine rival to the PGA and DP World tours.
There is little doubt that the LIV start-up has built early momentum with the acquisition of a host of major champions such as Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau in a disruptive inaugural season.
But LIV has so far failed in its attempts to secure the ranking point status that would crucially allow their players to qualify for major championships in years to come.
LIV rebels are now sliding down the rankings and the mega-money enterprise can only truly cement itself as an integral part of golf's ecosystem with authentication from the OWGR board.
However, despite players signing a joint letter to OWGR chairman Peter Dawson lobbying for validation in September, LIV heads into 2023 without access to ranking points.
And in a perhaps subtle reference to LIV's pursuit, OWGR has provided a detailed statement announcing the inclusion of the Gira de Golf Profesional de Mexicana as the latest tour in its organisation.
The five-year-old Mexican development tour, like LIV, conducts 54-hole tournaments, but crucially have 36-hole cuts in their events. And in the OWGR statement, it is made clear that there is a lengthy application process, with approval for ranking points taking 16 months.
The statement read: "The Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana provides access to its official tournaments, conducted over 54 holes with a 36-hole cut, via its annual open qualifying school, as well as providing opportunities for local and regional players, culminating with a no-cut, season-ending Championship.
"The Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana is in keeping with long-standing OWGR Eligibility and Format Criteria providing inclusion for professional tours at the development level with available Ranking Points commensurate with the format and anticipated fields."
Such an explicit announcement clarifies why the Mexican tour has been successful in the OWGR review process in comparison to other tours.
LIV will expand from eight to 14 events in 2023, but may still struggle to secure ranking point status - with the lack of cuts in their 48-man invitational events seen as problematic in their own application to the OWGR board.