Phil Mickelson has been left with egg on his face after hailing LIV Golf's new "strategic alliance" with the Middle East and Africa (MENA) Tour which they said would allow their golfers to earn world ranking points.
LIV is not recognised by the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), while the MENA Tour is and it was hoped the deal would automatically allow LIV players to earn ranking points. "We are taking this mutually beneficial action to support the game at the developmental level and because of the importance and fairness of LIV golfers qualifying for OWGR points," LIV president and COO chief Atul Khosla said.
However, the OWGR have announced that the new partnership is under review and LIV will continue to operate without ranking recognition. In a statement they 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."
The initial joint statement from LIV and the MENA Tour claimed their partnership would "immediately qualify LIV Golf for OWGR points" and Mickelson had spoken glowingly of the news. The six-time Major winner claimed that OWGR allowing LIV golfers to earn ranking points would be "a great way to keep its credibility".
He said: "I think from a player standpoint, it feels great to have everyone at LIV fighting so hard for the players and their best interests. I think for the World Golf Rankings, this is a great way to keep its credibility, while not bringing in politics into the decision-making process.
"I think it's good for all parties. Given the many obstacles that we have had to face from those trying to stop it, I think it's a great way to do this in addition to adding in a developmental tour for the Asian Tour who will be our feeding tour going forward.
"The reason I'm not concerned is that the number of points are based on the quality of the field and not the organisation that's running the tournament, and the quality of our field is remarkably strong. I'm sure for the world golf rankings to maintain their credibility, they'll continue to award the proper number of points that the tournaments deserve for all tours."