Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Eamon Lynch

Lynch: Why Bryson DeChambeau and LIV’s other point-missers are protesting their equal treatment under the rules

Who could have imagined that a low-speed collision with a gallery rope would occasion a loss of critical faculty? But then, that presumes Bryson DeChambeau had a firm grasp on logic or fact before he banjoed himself in front of tens of spectators at a recent LIV tournament in Chicago. If nothing else, the resulting viral video finally brought eyeballs to the LIV product, and perhaps some comfort to its CEO to see someone else suffer an embarrassing choke inside the ropes. 

The discombobulated DeChambeau didn’t seem to have all synapses firing at LIV’s latest event for guys who want to spend more time at home, this one held in Thailand, a dozen time zones from his bed in Texas. He was angered that the Official World Golf Ranking declined to award points to LIV’s Bangkok stop within 24 hours of the Saudi-funded enterprise announcing an alliance with the near-defunct MENA Tour, which is recognized by the OWGR but hasn’t actually staged a tournament in more than two years. 

They’re delaying the inevitable. We’ve hit every mark in their criteria, so for us not to get points is kind of crazy … we have the top players in the world … we deserve to be getting world ranking points,” DeChambeau said, with an air of entitlement more befitting a Crown Prince than one of his play things. 

He would benefit from borrowing Pat Perez’s copy of Nietzsche’s Untimely Meditations, in which the philosopher wrote that “the historical audit brings so much to light which is false and absurd … that the condition of pious illusion falls to pieces.” Because DeChambeau’s self-righteous claim that LIV has met all of the OWGR criteria is entirely false and absurd. 

LIV’s existing structure falls short of many of the conventions long-established for tours to qualify for world ranking points. Let’s leave aside the first requirement — embracing inclusion and promoting non-discrimination, a formidable impediment for misogynistic bonesaw enthusiasts and their apologists. On rules around format, cuts and average field sizes over the course of a season, LIV is non-compliant. Nor are LIV events accessible via a legitimate qualification process, since entry is determined largely by Greg Norman’s use of MBS’s checkbook. Defenders will point to LIV’s proposed relegation system but that is meritless since some players are contractually exempt from being demoted, regardless of performance. 

Tours must be compliant with OWGR standards for a year before ranking points will be awarded, but LIV has shown no intent to become so. Instead, Norman has adopted a strategy popular with his puppeteers: insist that established rules don’t apply, allege that the application of said rules amounts to unfair and discriminatory treatment, and launch a bot-driven misinformation campaign to create a deceitful narrative of a conspiracy. 

The Official World Golf Ranking has never warranted much respect, although recent changes to how it is calculated — a shift supported by all member tours but now derided by LIV acolytes — provide a more accurate accounting of the world’s best players. (Critics of the changes are basically aggrieved that their home tours will no longer see tournaments with mediocre fields artificially inflated in value.)

For all of its shortcomings, the OWGR matters because rankings are one of the primary avenues by which golfers can access major championships for which they are not otherwise eligible. As long as LIV isn’t sanctioned by the OWGR, its players’ rankings will drop. DeChambeau was 28th when he signed with LIV and was suspended from PGA Tour events. He is now 48th. 

They’re going to just keep playing a waiting game where we’re going to keep dropping down in the rankings to where our points won’t ever matter,” DeChambeau railed in Bangkok. “That’s what they’re trying to accomplish and I hope that people can see right through that rather than believe the lies that they’ve been told. 

Thus a turkey pretends to make an unbiased argument against Thanksgiving. Still, it’s tempting to defer to DeChambeau’s experience when it comes to lies. After all, only six days elapsed between him saying that he wouldn’t be joining LIV — an interview in which he also touted his faith and desire to become a better person — and his, um, joining LIV. 

The OWGR review process for awarding a tour ranking points — after it complies with the aforementioned qualification rules — takes up to two years. LIV filed its application on July 6 and Norman began publicly demanding approval one week later. On September 18, LIV players sent a letter to the OWGR insisting the application be fast-tracked. And now this effort to buy access through the back door via the MENA Tour. The stench of desperation rising from Norman is palpable as he attempts to conjure a conspiracy from thin air in order to justify litigation. 

What DeChambeau and Norman think they’re entitled to is immaterial and the onus is upon the OWGR to stand firm against LIV’s artless intimidation and to follow its established protocols. LIV tournaments should receive ranking points when the tour is eligible, not because its CEO and players pitch a public tantrum as the consequences of their career decisions become apparent. If Norman sold his players a bill of goods—they couldn’t be suspended by the PGA Tour, they would continue to earn ranking points, they would be hailed as game-changing visionaries and not castigated as stooges for Saudi sportswashing—then that’s a problem for him and those who might privately feel hoodwinked. 

There are already too many traditional norms that the abhorrent Saudi regime considers itself exempted from, like not dismembering critics, imprisoning students for tweets, or commissioning mass executions. Surely it can at least be held to the requirements necessary to award ranking points for its damned golf tournaments. 

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.