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Thursday, December 8, 2022

LIV Golf suffers blow as players denied ranking points

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London — LIV Golf players will not receive world ranking points for this week’s event in Bangkok or the tournament in Jeddah later this month, the Official Golf Ranking (OWGR) organisation said on Thursday.

The Saudi-backed LIV Series has yet to be given ranking points, but the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Tour announced on Wednesday that players at the next two events would be awarded points after a strategic alliance between the circuits.

The top 50 players in the rankings qualify automatically for all four major tournaments.

OWGR said it had been given insufficient notice and that a decision on whether to award ranking points would only be made following a review.

The organisation said it received a communication from the MENA Tour at 2.05pm on Wednesday, detailing “significant changes” to its membership structure along with an outline of the initial series of tournaments in the 2022-23 season.

“OWGR notes that the first two tournaments in this series appeared to be the same as the LIV Golf Invitational Series tournaments in Bangkok and Jeddah,” it said in a statement.

“The communication from the MENA Tour included a starting field data file for the Bangkok tournament, confirming that to be the case.

“A review of the changes to the MENA Tour is now under way by the OWGR.

“Notice of these changes given by the MENA Tour is insufficient to allow OWGR to conduct the customary necessary review ahead of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok (Friday-Sunday) and LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah (next Friday-Sunday).

“Only after the review is complete will a decision be made on awarding points to the MENA Tour’s new ‘Limited Field Tournaments.'”

The MENA Tour has been inactive since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

LIV has already staged five events in its inaugural year, but without any ranking points awarded to its players – including Open champion Cameron Smith, former world number one Dustin Johnson and six-time major winner Phil Mickelson.

Golfers on the rebel circuit have been banned from the PGA Tour, ruling out American players from qualifying for the 2023 Ryder Cup.

European stars to have left for LIV, including stalwarts Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, have all plummeted down the world rankings and seem unlikely to make Luke Donald’s team for the two-yearly contest, which takes place near Rome.

AFP

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