The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) announced LIV Golf players will not receive world ranking points for their events in Bangkok and Jeddah, despite their new ‘strategic alliance’ with the MENA Tour
The Saudi-funded breakaway circuit announced a new strategic alliance with the MENA Tour on Wednesday, a move they believed “would immediately qualify LIV Golf for OWGR points”, with all LIV Golf members joining the Dubai-based golf tour.
The OWGR responded a day later to say they had been given insufficient notice of the development, ruling out the prospect of world ranking points being made available over the final two regular LIV Golf events this season.
“They’re delaying the inevitable,” DeChambeau said after the opening round of the LIV Golf event in Bangkok. “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.
“When they [OWGR] 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 even 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.”
All LIV Golf events this season have been played without world ranking points available, with the OWGR insisting any decision on awarding ranking points would only be made following a review.
“I don’t think it [the OWGR statement] really was much of a response,” Koepka said. “I just hate when you sit on the fence. Just pick a side. If it’s yes or no, just pick one. I’m not a big fan of that.
“Yeah, not to say something to where it’s not really an answer and we’ll think about it. Just pick a side. If it’s yes, if it’s no, it’s fine, we’ll figure it out from there.”
MENA Tour criticises OWGR decision
MENA Tour commissioner David Spencer released a statement on Friday in response to the OWGR’s decision and insisted the LIV Golf tournament in Bangkok fitted the criteria for world ranking points.
The statement read: “We have had various communications with OWGR since submitting our 2022/23 schedule, MENA Tour handbook, exemption criteria and our field ahead of our opening event of our new season which tees off today.
“None of this communication pointed towards any technical reason for the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok to be treated any differently to any MENA Tour event, every one of which has received OWGR since we were accepted into the OWGR framework in 2016.
“We have followed the OWGR guidelines for our 2022/23 season. Recently, there has been much talk in the golf world about limited field tournaments and 54-hole tournaments. For absolute clarity, the OWGR itself defines a limited field tournament as a tournament which has less than 30 qualified players. Furthermore, the MENA Tour has always had the OWGR’s blessing to stage 54- hole tournaments.
“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’.
“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.”