LIV Golf abandons bid for world ranking points but still targeting major invites

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

LIV Golf has formally abandoned its bid to receive world ranking points but Greg Norman said they still hope to secure a pathway into major championships for their players.

LIV first applied for Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) accreditation in July 2022 when the Saudi-backed league began to prise away some of the game’s biggest players from the PGA Tour.

However, their bid was rejected in October last year by the OWGR who took issue with the league’s team format, lack of a cut and closed-shop invitational model. The league tried to appease the OWGR by providing a way for some players to qualify for events but the move proved futile.

“We have made significant efforts to fight for you and ensure your accomplishments are recognised within the existing ranking system,” Norman, LIV’s commissioner, said in a letter to players. “Unfortunately, OWGR has shown little willingness to productively work with us.

“This is not a decision that we made lightly. After spending the last 18 months in almost constant dialogue with various members of the OWGR technical committee and board, it is now clear that the best way forward for LIV as a league and you as LIV golfers is not through the current ranking system. A resolution which protects the accuracy, credibility and integrity of the OWGR rankings no longer exists.”

The lack of OWGR recognition has seen several high-profile players tumble down the world rankings, jeopardising their ability to qualify for the major championships.

Norman, though, has said the league will continue conversations directly with the majors - who sit on the OWGR board - to try and create a pathway into the tournaments for LIV players.

Joaquin Niemann has been vocal in his frustration at the lack of ranking points available for LIV events (REUTERS)
Joaquin Niemann has been vocal in his frustration at the lack of ranking points available for LIV events (REUTERS)

“We continue to seek meaningful communication and relationships with each of the majors to ensure that LIV golfers are fairly represented and golf fans around the world have opportunities to see the best competition possible,” the Australian added.

Joaquin Niemann, the Chilean who has won two of LIV’s first three events, has already received an invite to the upcoming Masters and US PGA Championship but many high-profile names could well miss out on future tournaments if an agreement is not reached.

OWGR chairman Peter Dawson, meanwhile, has previously acknowledged the talent present within the league but said the decision to not grant ranking points was entirely technical.

“We are not at war with them,” he said when their initial bid was rejected in October last year. “This decision not to make them eligible is not political. It is entirely technical.

“LIV players are self-evidently good enough to be ranked. They’re just not playing in a format where they can be ranked equitably with the other 24 tours and thousands of players to compete on them.”