EXCLUSIVE: LIV Golf set to submit OWGR bid

Players participating in this week’s inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event in London will not receive World Ranking Points – but that may soon change.

bunkered.co.uk has learned that the Saudi-backed tour intends to submit an application for the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) next week.

The news follows the PGA Tour’s decision to ban current and future LIV Golf players from its tournaments for an undisclosed period and effective immediately.

If approved, OWGR status would make LIV events eligible for global ranking points and resolve one of the major outstanding issues facing the startup.

The app will be offered on behalf of LIV Golf by the Asian Tour in accordance with OWGR rules which require any new app to be effectively “sponsored” by one of the six full member tours.

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The Board of Directors that will ultimately vote on LIV Golf’s bid includes Augusta National Golf Club, the DP World Tour, the PGA Tour, the R&A, the PGA of America, the USGA and the International Federation of PGA Tours (which is composed of “smaller” circuits such as the Sunshine Tour, the Japan Golf Tour, the Asian Tour, etc.).

Interestingly, the vote for the latter would be cast by Keith Waters, the COO of the DP World Tour.

It is not yet known whether competing organizations or tours that have a conflict of interest will be asked to abstain from voting.

A source who asked not to be identified said bunkered.co.uk“A successful world rankings app would be a huge vote of confidence for LIV Golf and recognition that this new venture is both credible and serious.

“It would also potentially open the floodgates for more players to commit to the series.”

There are many criteria that an OWGR application must meet. We understand that LIV Golf meets all but a handful of them – one being the requirement to have been established for a defined period of time – but these are not considered to be deciding factors.

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It is in the OWGR constitution, in effect, that new applications that meet all or none of the criteria may be approved or denied at the discretion of the OWGR Board of Directors. The board would also reserve the right to change these qualifying criteria when and how it wishes.

Another sticking point for LIV Golf is the fact that the series features 54-hole non-cut tournaments and is, by its own definition, an invitational tour. This would basically be to guarantee world ranking points to its invited participants.

This, however, is not unprecedented. The PGA Tour Championship, along with the DP World Tour Championship, World Golf Championships and Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge, are all non-cut events that offer OWGR points.

That said, the most compelling point is surely this.

The value of the OWGR is greatly diminished if it is not a credible and accurate representation of who the best players in the game are.

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If, for example, Dustin Johnson wins this week’s LIV Golf event but makes no world ranking gains as a result, is next week’s ranking truly representative and therefore a robust enough tool to determine the fields for major championships in particular?

There is no specific timeline as to when LIV Golf’s bid will be voted on, but it is undoubtedly another significant moment in a seismic week for men’s professional golf.

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