LIV golfers competing in Thailand this weekend will not earn world ranking points, in what serves as an embarrassment to the rebel tour after public claims to the contrary.
An alliance between LIV and the feeder, Middle East and North Africa Tour, was announced on Wednesday. Through that, LIV believed it finally had access to the official world ranking system (OWGR). LIV players, including the Open champion, Cameron Smith, have been afforded Mena membership. A statement read: “The alliance will boost the Mena Tour’s development programs and immediately qualify LIV Golf for OWGR points, starting with the LIV Golf Thailand event at Stonehill this week.”
Not so fast, was essentially the message from OWGR headquarters. No doubt conscious of the loophole being used by LIV, the OWGR board has denied immediate rankings status. The OWGR said: “Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) received a communication from the Mena Tour on October 5th, 2022, at 13:05 BST. The communication detailed significant changes to the Mena Tour’s membership structure along with an outline of the initial series of tournaments in the 2022/23 Mena Tour season.
“OWGR notes that the first two tournaments in this series appeared to be the same as the LIV Golf Invitational Series tournaments in Bangkok and Jeddah. The communication from the Mena Tour included a starting field data file for the Bangkok tournament, confirming that to be the case. A review of the changes to the Mena Tour is now underway by the OWGR.
“Notice of these changes given by the Mena Tour is insufficient to allow OWGR to conduct the customary necessary review ahead of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok (7-9 October) and LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah (14-16 October).”
The erratic nature of LIV’s approach to all things OWGR is emphasised by the fact it had already applied for involvement in July. On face value, LIV fails to meet several of the OWGR’s criteria. The OWGR board, chaired by Peter Dawson, includes representatives of all four majors plus the PGA and DP World Tours.
The OWGR statement added: “Only after the review is complete will a decision be made on awarding points to the Mena Tour’s new ‘Limited Field Tournaments’, defined by the Mena Tour in its Regulations as ‘any Mean Tour-approved tournament, which comprises of a player field of less than 80 players.’ Regular official Mena Tour events conducted over 54 or 72 holes with a cut after 36 holes, and its Tour Championship, typically conducted over 54 holes with no cut, remain eligible for inclusion in the OWGR.”
LIV tournaments, of which there have been five, are over 54 holes and feature no cut.