LIV Golf recently announced its “strategic alliance” with the MENA Tour (Middle East and Africa). The Saudi-backed series has partnered with the Dubai-based golf tour recognized by the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) to help its players earn ranking points. It was the latest move in the controversial series in its fight for points.
Since its inception in June, the Saudi-backed series has been battling with OWGR officials for recognition. They haven’t succeeded yet. While the recent decision to partner with the OWGR-recognized MENA Tour also appears to be a failure, players and LIV fans can only wonder if they will ever be inducted into the ranking points system.
Dustin Johnson argues for ranking points for LIV Golf
Several players over the past few weeks have come out to speak on behalf of LIV Golf. Golfers, including LIV and PGA Tour players, have openly said the new series deserves to be accredited with ranking points. One of those players is LIV star Dustin Johnson. Much like his fellow golfers, Johnson has also been outspoken in favor of his streak being considered in the ranking system.
Johnson arrived in Bangkok, Thailand last week to compete in LIV Golf’s penultimate event of the season. Speaking to the media ahead of the event, he reflected on missing out on OWGR points. Johnson reiterated his employer’s statement when he said he and his fellow rebel players “deserved ranking points” despite the conflicting opinion of officials.
The 2020 Masters champion mocked the OWGR and argued that he should maintain an unbiased stance on the matter. Speaking just hours before the Official World Golf Rankings decision to deny LIV’s points claim for this week’s LIV event in Bangkok, Dustin Johnson said:
“It’s supposed to be an impartial organization [OWGR], so we play golf, competing with some of the best golfers in the world, so yeah, we should be getting points. Will they do this? With a bit of luck. Like I said, I think we deserve them and I hope we get them.”
It is pertinent to note that Dustin Johnson was ranked number 13 in the world when he agreed to join LIV. Since defecting from the PGA Tour to the new series, Johnson has dropped 10 places and currently sits at 23. The stat is alarming for the golfer, who is keen to compete in multiple international events.
It should also be noted that all of LIV’s golfers, including Johnson, have been suspended from the PGA Tour and therefore have little to no chance of regaining the places they lost in the world rankings. With the MENA Tour−LIV route “under review,” LIV golfers also risk losing points in Jeddah.
Here is what OWGR says in its statement:
“The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) has received a communication from MENA… The communication details significant changes to the MENA Tour membership structure as well as a preview of the first series of tournaments of the season 2022/23 of the MENA Tour… OWGR notes that the first two tournaments of this series appeared to be the same as the LIV Golf Invitational Series tournaments in Bangkok and Jeddah… Notice of these changes given by the MENA Tour is insufficient to allow OWGR to conduct the usual necessary review prior to the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok (October 7-9) and the LIV Invitational Jeddah (October 14-16).”
Now, all LIV golfers, including players who wrote a letter to OWGR, will have to wait for the final verdict on whether they will earn world ranking points by playing only in the Saudi-backed series.