The Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour recently received some positive and favorable news regarding its fight to receive Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
LIV Golf Tour members desperately need the OWGR points both in the near term and long run. In the absence of exemptions, these OWGR points are necessary to receive invitations to golf’s 4 Major Championships (The Masters, US Open, PGA Championship, and Open Championship).
Previous winners of these majors receive various exemptions to the Majors but the clock is ticking on the exemptions. And if a LIV Golf Tour member isn’t a previous Major winner then they’re likely S.O.L. when it comes to the majors because without new OWGR points their world rankings are slipping every week.
A recent statement from DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley revealed a big win for the LIV Tour as it awaits review of its OWGR application. Pelley revealed to The Telegraph that he, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, and DP World Tour chief operating Officer Keith Waters had all removed themselves from the OWGR board for this decision-making process.
“At the last OWGR board meeting (in December) myself, Jay Monahan and Keith Waters recused ourselves and now a separate committee made up of the four Majors will now determine the application.”
Keith Pelly added “I have not looked at the LIV application and I’ve not given my opinions on an application I’ve not seen. So, as far as LIV goes, we are not involved in it and have no influence or say in what transpires.”
World Golf Ranking Announcement Opens Path For How LIV Golf Could Adjust To Receive Points
A major OWGR announcement at the end of December shed light on how LIV Golf could receive the world ranking points it desperately needs.
The announcement was that the Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana will start receiving OWGR points. And this paragraph is particularly relevant to LIV Golf’s interests:
“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. As such, 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.”
A couple of key factors noted in this tour getting world ranking points: 54-hole events with 36-hole cut; proper access via qualifying school with opportunities for local and regional players. https://t.co/rMtNh9Z2B9
— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) December 28, 2022
Notably, the tour puts on 54-hole events like LIV Golf but it differentiates with a 36-hole cut AND qualifying school.
There is another interesting entry at the end of the OWGR press release:
“After a 16-month-long application process, the Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana will become an OWGR Eligible Golf Tour from Week 1 ending January 8th, 2023, and its official tournaments, in accordance with OWGR Regulations, will be eligible for inclusion in the Ranking.”
The review process took 16 months from start to finish for the Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana.
Presumably, should the LIV Tour shift to instituting a 36-hole cut AND qualifying school then they would meet the some criteria as the Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana and would be eligible to receive OWGR points.
The Masters sets ‘Major’ precedent for LIV Golf
The Masters has set the precedent that LIV Tour golfers are welcome to compete. This will be the first year with a mixed field of PGA and LIV competitors.
Chairman of The Masters tournament, Fred Ridley, released a statement where he addressed the division in golf. He wrote:
“We have reached a seminal point in the history of our sport. At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges through the years, will endure again.”
“Through the years, legends of the game have competed and won at Augusta National Golf Club. Champions like Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have become heroes to golfers of all ages. They have inspired some to follow in their footsteps and so many others to play and enjoy the game. They have supported the sport and, thus, all who benefit from it. They have shown respect for those who came before them and blazed a trail for future generations. Golf is better because of them.”
“Regrettably, recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it. Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers this coming April.”
Presumably, the other Majors will follow in the footsteps of Augusta National.
While many of the LIV Tour competitors are eligible to compete in golf’s 4 Major Championships that might not always be the case. Certain exemptions expire and other invitations are contingent on world rankings. The LIV Tour must secure OWGR points in order to keep its tour members competing at the highest level.