LIV to apply for golf ranking points, Norman says

  • Senior college football writer
  • Author of seven books on college football
  • Graduate of the University of Georgia

BROOKLINE, Mass. — LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said the new circuit will apply for Official World Golf Ranking points consideration on Monday.

Norman said the LIV Golf Invitational Series has a “very compelling” application after working closely with the OWGR technical committee to understand the process.

During an interview with Fox News on Saturday night, Norman also asked whether PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, one of eight members of the OWGR board of governors, would recuse himself from voting on LIV Golf’s application.

“It’ll be interesting to see if Jay Monahan recuses himself from that vote because of what he said on television with [CBS Sports announcer] Jim Nantz the other day,” Norman said. “So, it’s very interesting and it’s sad to be, you know, putting that additional exerting pressure on it because our tour is a good tour. It’s supported, it’s got an incredible field. Our point should be that if we get the OWGR points, then everything else takes care of itself.”

During an interview with Nantz during the final round of the RBC Canadian Open on June 12, Monahan defended his position to suspend 17 players who have defected from the Tour to join LIV Golf, which is being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

Additional PGA Tour players, including 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed, are expected to be included in the 48-man field for LIV Golf’s next event. It will be the first one played in the United States, at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, from June 30 to July 2.

Monahan said players who competed in future LIV Golf events without a conflicting-event release would face the same punishment as the 17 who were suspended.

“Why do they need us so badly?” Monahan asked, of the LIV Tour, on CBS Sports. “Because those players have chosen to sign multiyear lucrative contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again. You look at that versus what we see here today and that’s why they need us so badly. You’ve got true, pure competition. The best players in the world are here at the RBC Canadian Open, with millions of fans watching, and in this game, it’s true and pure competition that creates the profile in the presence of the world’s greatest players.

“And that’s why they need us. That’s what we do. But we’re not going to allow players to free ride off of our loyal members, the best players in the world.”

Other members of the OWGR board of governors includes DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, USGA CEO Mike Whan, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, PGA of America executive director Seth Waugh, Augusta National Golf Club executive director Will Jones and Keith Waters, who represents the International Federation of PGA Tours.

Players competing in LIV Golf who aren’t eligible to play on other tours will not earn OWGR points. The governing bodies of the four major championships use OWGR standings to determine exemptions for golf’s biggest events.

The USGA decided to let LIV Golf players who had already qualified for this week’s tournament at The Country Club to remain in the field, but Whan said earlier this week that he could foresee a day when it’s more difficult for LIV Golf players to do so. The players would still be eligible to get in the U.S. Open through open qualifying.

“I could foresee a day,” Whan said. “Do I know what that day looks like? No, I don’t. To be honest with you, what we’re talking about [LIV Golf] was different two years ago, and it was different two months ago than it is today. We’ve been doing this for 127 years, so I think [the USGA] needs to take a long-term view of this and see where these things go. So we’re not going to be a knee-jerk reaction to kind of what we do.”

Even if LIV Golf were to become a recognized tour, it would probably receive reduced points because of its current format. LIV Golf events include 48-man fields and 54 holes; PGA Tour events consist of 72 holes and fields as large as 156 players.

During the interview on Fox News, Norman also asked why the PGA Tour was being so critical of LIV Golf when it also had sponsors who have done business with the Saudis.

“Look, I’m disappointed people go down that path, quite honestly,” Norman said. “If they want to look at it in prism, then why does the PGA Tour have 23 sponsors doing $40-plus billion worth of business with Saudi Arabia? Why is it okay for the sponsors? Will Jay Monahan go to each and every one of those CEOs of the 23 companies that are investing into Saudi Arabia and suspend them and ban them? The hypocrisy in all this, it’s so loud. It’s deafening.”

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