Will LIV Golf be validated by the World Golf Ranking? It’s a tricky question

Charles Schwarzl and LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman after the first LIV Golf event in London.

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For most of the 1970s, identifying the best golfers in the world required more than just a quick look at the PGA Tour money list.

The men’s game was dominated by the Americans, competing mostly on American soil.

But by the end of the decade, the balance of power began to shift.

With global stars such as Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Nick Price and Greg Norman shining at events around the world, the ranking process is no longer that simple.

A new system is required.

In 1986, what we know today as the official golf rating (at that time it was called the Sony rating) was born.

Its founders are the Five Families of Golf (USGA, R&A, Augusta National, PGA Tour and PGA of America), along with the European Tour Group and the International Federation of PGA Tours. But over the years, the tent has expanded. Today, there are more than 20 world tours on stage that carry OWGR Points.

Top 10 current OWGR players.


For more of this backstory, you can visit the OWGR website, which outlines the origins and evolution of the arrangement. While you’re on site, you can also learn about the math behind the system – how points are allocated to events by calculating field strength.

However, what you won’t find is information on another question: How does OWGR determine which rounds are worth validating in the first place?

The site does not provide any explanation.

For most golf lovers, this was not a pressing topic at all.

But it is significant today, given the recent change in the game.

Last weekend, LIV Golf CEO Norman announced that the controversial Saudi-backed rival circuit he leads would apply to make its events eligible for OWGR points. Gaining this status is important to LIV because the Rankings are a gateway to players in the four disciplines and other high-profile PGA Tour events. A reluctant golfer may feel more comfortable joining the LIV with the assurance that he still has a chance to qualify for those high profile events by way of the rankings.

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LIV executives argue that its recognition by OWGR is important to OWGR as well, if the global ranking is to remain reliable, accurate, and up-to-date.

In an interview with Fox News, Norman said LIV has been putting together a “compelling application” and working closely with members of the OWGR panel “to understand all the components of what you need.”

okay then. about those components.

what are they?

Decision makers declined to say.

“The official World Golf Ranking does not comment on the application process nor on any individual applications it may or may not have received for admission to the rating,” a representative of the organization told GOLF.com by email.

Requests for comment from the PGA Tour, the US PGA, R&A, the USGA and Augusta National, all of which have representatives on the OWGR board, were either denied or ignored.

Norman has also been made available to share what he knows.

But another LIV executive who was involved in the OWGR application process and asked to remain anonymous was willing to discuss how the review process would work.

According to the CEO, a round seeking OWGR recognition must meet more than 15 criteria, which he said LIV meets nearly all of them, while others fall into a “gray area” that LIV believes it can exceed. For starters, the applicant should be proposed for consideration with an existing tour already in the OWGR fold. The executive said the Asian tour, in which LIV has invested hundreds of millions of dollars, will tick this box for LIV.

Many other OWGR standards relate to event scheduling and coordination. To be eligible for OWGR points, for example, a tour must run at least 10 events per year.

These events must have a portfolio of at least $50,000 (LIV clears this bar easily) and an average field size of 75 players. While LIV’s inaugural events, including its inaugural tournament outside London earlier this month, are limited to 48 players, its international events will feature 144 competitors, bringing the average stadium size over 75, the executive said.

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With a few requirements, the executive acknowledged, “there are some gray areas,” but in those cases, LIV believes precedent is on its side.

Take, for example, OWGR’s requirement that events be a minimum of 54 holes with a cut-off after 36 holes. LIV events have no cutoff. But the Tour Championship, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Hero World Challenge are also chop-free, and they all award OWGR points.

There are other criteria, the LIV executive said. OWGR requires that the tour provide a path for players in the full member tour that the app proposes. The executive said that LIV could meet this requirement by ensuring that the top five winners receive an Asian Tour ticket (whether these players choose to play on the Asian Tour is another matter). OWGR also requires that you take a qualifying school tour before the start of the season or submit a qualification process at each event.

The executive said that LIV will be able to check this box, with a concept it plans to implement within the next few years, after its transformation next season into a league format with 48 full-time committed players and 12 committed teams. As part of this concept, the four lowest ranked players will be relegated and a separate event will be held that will provide a path to the league.

Another hurdle LIV has to clear is OWGR’s requirement that the tour be in operation for at least a year before its events are eligible for ranking points. LIV organized its first competition just weeks ago. But here again, the LIV executive said, it can be shown that other rounds have been exempted from this rule in the past. The CEO said it’s an argument LIV could make, anyway.

If a LIV request is accepted, there will be a question as to how many points its events are worth. According to LIV’s calculations, the executive said, the opening event would have had a field strength of “about 100” (for comparison, Corales Puntacana on the PGA Tour had a field strength of 26, and last week’s US Open had a field strength of 830). Based on that number, said CEO, LIV’s first winner, Charles Schwartzel, had climbed nearly 40 places in the OWGR, and runner-up Hennie Du Plessis had jumped 30 places.

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On the other hand, players who put in poor performances, including Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson, have fallen into OWGR.

Bottom line: It’s not hard to see how complex and thorny a LIV app for OWGR recognition can become.

Another risky issue is the composition of the board of the OGWR, an eight-person body that includes PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.

Norman has already indicated publicly that Monahan has a conflict of interest and should step down from any vote on the LIV’s request to recognize OWGR.

Monahan explained what he thinks of LIV. The attitude of other OWGR executives to LIV was even more difficult to untangle.

At the US Open last week, USGA CEO Mike Wan, who also sits on the OWGR board, was asked if playing by the rules of golf was a requirement for an event to qualify for world ranking points. Wan paid ignorant of that, and more.

“I don’t know, to be honest with you,” he said, noting that he has attended only one meeting of the OWGR Board of Directors in his current role at the USGA. “Maybe a few thousand emails have been late for the last three weeks of the tournament, but I don’t think we’re sitting on a request. That’s what you’re really doing with the world rankings is you’re reviewing a request if the tour is going into a request. So, I don’t think we’re sitting on one. “.

Looks like they will be soon.

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Josh Sens is a golf, food and travel writer who has been a contributor to GOLF Magazine since 2004 and now contributes across all GOLF platforms. His work has been authored in the best American sports writing. He is also the co-author, with Sami Hager, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: The Cooking and Partying Handbook.

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