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Graeme McDowell likens LIV Golf events to Majors and dismisses ranking system

Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell no longer has interest in his position in the world rankings and views LIV Golf’s 14 invitational events as his new majors.

Graeme McDowell views his lucrative LIV Golf events as his new ‘majors’ after appearing to give up his competitive relevance by signing for the Saudi-Arabian-backed breakaway tour.

World No. 392 McDowell no longer plays in the four biggest golf tournaments of the year after his US Open victory at Pebble Beach in 2010.

The Northern Irishman’s decade-long US Open exemption has long since expired and he has no chance of qualifying for the other three majors via the world ranking system.

McDowell instead made over $2.3 million (£1.9m) in prize money across eight events in LIV’s inaugural 2022 season after jeopardising his future chances of becoming Ryder Cup captain to join Greg Norman’s mega-money enterprise last year.

And while the 43-year-old still dreams of competing in majors again, he has altered his focus and now places LIV’s 14 events in 2023 at the top of his priority list.

“Of course, I’d love to be in the major championships,” he told Irish Golfer. “I am very happy with my current schedule. I have plenty of golf to play and from a travel point of view, it’s great. I’ll see my family a lot.

“I’m not in any major championships but I feel like I have 14 majors to play in. The 14 LIV events are fairly major from a financial point of view so there’s lots to play for.”

LIV’s pursuit of Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status remains a key battleground in golf’s ongoing civil war as the series looks to establish itself as a genuine rival to the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

As it stands, LIV rebels are still without OWGR access at their events which means their chances of earning world ranking points to qualify for major championships are extremely limited.

But McDowell, gearing up for LIV’s first event in Mexico at the end of the month, has dismissed the validity of the system that has seen players like former world no.1 Dustin Johnson plunge down the rankings.

“I very rarely look at the world rankings now,” he said. “It’s something that was very important to me as a younger player and a lot is being talked about with the rankings at the moment.

You’re not going to tell me Dustin Johnson is the 48th ranked player in the world, he’s not the 48th best player. Brooks Koepka is a top 20 in the world max, he’s a top 10 player in the world.

“It’s irrelevant to me where I’m ranked in the world. It doesn’t affect where I am in the world of golf right now, I’m just trying to compete the best I can and keep my head down and not make any headlines.”

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