By Ryan Herrington
The response to the response was what you might expect. LIV Golf desperately wants its events to be able to offer Official World Golf Ranking points for members who are seeing their place on the OWGR drop. And when the circuit’s novel attempt to make that happen by aligning with the MENA Tour, a developmental tour already recognised by the OWGR, did not pass immediate muster, the reaction was visceral.
After the OWGR released a statement saying it needed more time to review the application that MENA Tour/LIV Golf had submitted on Wednesday, denying the chance for LIV Golf Invitational events this week in Bangkok and next week in Saudi Arabia to get points, MENA Tour commissioner David Spencer fired back. “The OWGR states: ‘The primary objective of the Ranking is to maintain, review, update, administer and promote the recognition of a system that fairly ranks the relative performance of golfers participating in the leading men’s professional tournaments throughout the world,” he said. “Clearly, the MENA Tour’s first event of the 2022/23 season, the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok, is one of those tournaments and accordingly should be included in this week’s OWGR events. Not including our event in this week’s OWGR render the results and subsequent player movements inaccurate.”
Mind you, Spencer might feel compelled to play things relatively close to the vest if he wants to see things ultimately work out as he and LIV officials hope in the long run. LIV golfers, however, don’t necessarily have to hold back their emotions, and a few offered more pointed reactions are competing in the first round of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok on Friday.
“Yeah, I don’t think it really was much of a response,” said Brooks Koepka, who was 20th in the World Ranking in the beginning of June and is now down to 32nd. “I just hate when you sit on the fence. Just pick a side. If it’s yes or no, just pick one. So I’m not a big fan of that. Not to say something to where it’s not really an answer and we’ll think about it. I don’t agree with … just pick a side. If it’s yes, if it’s no, it’s fine, we’ll figure it out from there.”
More vocal was Bryson DeChambeau, who has seen his World Ranking drop from 28th to 48th in the last four months, the lowest it’s been since April 2018.
“They’re delaying the inevitable,” DeChambeau said. “We’ve hit every mark in their criteria, so for us not to get points is kind of crazy with having the top — at least I believe we have the top players in the world. Not all of them, but we certainly believe that there’s enough that are in the top 50, and we deserve to be getting World Ranking points.”
DeChambeau then continued: “When they keep holding it back, 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. 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. From my perspective, I think we deserve points.”
LIV Golf’s issues for OWGR acceptance are ongoing. Among the areas it would appear to be lacking are 36-hole cuts, field sizes on average of 75 players over a course of a season, open annual qualifying school and reasonable access for local and regional players at each of its tournaments.
Opinions vary on whether LIV events should get points. Even one of LIV’s biggest critics, Rory McIlroy, thinks the tour has a case to be recognised in some fashion.
“I certainly would want the best players in the world ranked accordingly,” McIlroy said last week while playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. “I think if Dustin Johnson is somewhere around 100th in the world then it’s not an accurate reflection of where he is in the game.”
You may also like:
Golf Digest Middle East presents Oktoberfest 2020
LIV Golf Day 1 takeaways
Field announced for LIV Golf Jeddah
LIV Golfers set for bumper Bangkok pay day
WATCH: Sungjae’s shot of the season contender
Eugenio finds form at LIV Golf Bangkok
OWGR says ‘no’ to LIV Golf — for now
LIV Golf looks at ranking points through MENA Tour
Noren gets the luckiest of bounces at St Andrews
Charley and MacKenzie set a new mark
LET set for an Aramco showdown
Dubai’s McKee all set for Aramco Team Series bow
Cam Smith ready for return to action in Asia
Rory comes up short at St Andrews yet again
Viya Golfs adds to the club
UAE golfer heads to the Masters
Chiara Noja secures LET card for 2023
Laklalech becomes first Arab to win on LET
Rory open to LIV Golf ranking points — if they meet criteria
Henderson and Maguire sign up for Aramco Team Series in New York
Newton to play Dunhill pro-am
Reed withdraws from Dunhill links — thanks to dodgy bed
LIV Golf Bangkok field revealed
Poulter rages at dumping of Stenson
True or False: Presidents Cup takeaways
Charlie Woods shoots career low with dad Tiger on the bag