Before LIV Golf can hope to get Official World Golf Ranking points, talkSPORT host Simon Jordan thinks that LIV Golf must do more to adhere to the established format of the sport.
The OWGR points race, which is still going strong and without which many of the players in the Saudi-backed breakaway league will find it difficult to qualify for Major Championships, has slowed down the league’s momentum.
LIV disclosed a strategic partnership with the OWGR-eligible Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Tour on Wednesday.
Prior to future matches in Bangkok and Jeddah over the following two weeks, the breakaway league asserted that this “would immediately qualify LIV for OWGR points.”
OWGR has already refuted this, claiming that not enough warning was given and that no points will be issued until a review has been conducted.
The MENA Tour contacted the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) on October 5, 2022, at 13:05 BST, according to a statement.
The communication included a description of the major membership structure adjustments for the MENA Tour as well as a schedule of the first round of competition for the 2022–2023 season.
“OWGR observes that the first two competitions in this series resembled the Bangkok and Jeddah events in the LIV Golf Invitational Series. That was confirmed by the MENA Tour’s message, which also contained a starting field data file for the Bangkok competition.
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“The OWGR is now conducting a study of the modifications made to the MENA Tour.
“OWGR has not had enough time to undertake the customary essential evaluation in advance of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok (7-9 October) and LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah. The notice of these adjustments provided by the MENA Tour is insufficient” (14-16 October).
“A decision on awarding points to the MENA Tour’s new “Limited Field Tournaments,” which are described by the MENA Tour in its Regulations as “any MENA Tour-approved tournament, which has a player field of less than 80 players,” won’t be made until the review is over.
The Tour Championship, which is normally played over 54 holes with no cut, and regular official MENA Tour competitions played over 54 or 72 holes with a cut after 36 holes continue to be eligible for inclusion in the OWGR.
OWGR has recognised the Dubai-based MENA Tour since 2016 despite some of its 54-hole competitions.
It is understood that the format of LIV’s application for OWGR points has drawn a lot of attention.
Among a number of innovative concepts, the breakaway proposal contains 54-hole competitions and 48-man fields, which appear at odds with the traditional standards of the OWGR.
Many believe the league to be a Saudi sportswashing initiative that lacks ethics and is primarily focused on the enormous financial rewards for those involved.
Meanwhile, LIV maintains that it is working to “expand the game.”
In September, all LIV participants wrote to OWGR pleading for points while well-known athletes like Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith continued to slide down the rankings.
Insisting that while world rankings should reflect the calibre of all golfers, LIV players can’t set up their own rules and expect to be evaluated using the same measure, Rory McIlroy, a fervent supporter of the PGA Tour, which has banned LIV players, disagreed.
Jordan, a former owner of Crystal Palace, believes that LIV should not anticipate support from the golf establishment after “jeopardising the fabric of the sport.”
Jordan told talkSPORT, “They won’t stop.” They will continue to exert pressure on every lever they can.
They are extremely wealthy and, I believe, proactive.
At some time, there will need to be an understanding and a coming together of the thoughts. No one is going to give up.
“But aren’t you in risk of undermining the foundation of what is a well-established sport when you start modifying tournament formats to make them 54-hole, shotgun starts?
It does require constant evolution. However, you’re asking for assistance from someone while not even abiding by the fundamental rules of the established regime.