Greg Norman’s Letter to Golfers Says LIV Series Should Get Official World Golf Ranking Points

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Greg Norman’s Letter to Golfers Says LIV Series Should Get Official World Golf Ranking Points
Greg Norman’s Letter to Golfers Says LIV Series Should Get Official World Golf Ranking Points

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In a letter sent to LIV golfers on Wednesday, CEO and commissioner Greg Norman said the new course “by any fair, objective and unbiased review” should receive Official World Golf Rankings points for its events in the very near future.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, Norman wrote that the inclusion of LIV Golf in the points system for the world rankings is “necessary for the integrity, accuracy and fairness” of the rankings.

LIV Golf officials submitted their application to the OWGR in mid-July and it was discussed by the OWGR technical committee during the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews, according to Norman.

“Without the inclusion of LIV, the integrity and accuracy of the rankings themselves are severely compromised,” Norman wrote. “We trust that the members of the OWGR Board of Directors will understand and appreciate this key consideration and that they will treat this development with the respect it deserves and in accordance with their responsibilities as directors of the Official World Golf Ranking and the duties they perform.” directorates.”

LIV golfers did not receive OWGR World Ranking points for the first three events on the new London circuit; Portland, Oregon; and Bedminster, New Jersey.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, who has suspended players for competing in LIV golf tournaments without notification of conflicting events, is one of eight members of the OWGR board. Other members include DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, USGA CEO Mike Wan, R&A CEO Martin Slumbers, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh, Augusta National Golf Club CEO Will Jones and Keith Waters, who represents the International Federation of PGA Tours.

In the letter, Norman noted that based on the OWGR system in place at the time, the first three LIV events would have had better field strength than two competing tournaments on the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic.

Several past majors, including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson, have left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

“The proportion of world-leading players competing in the LIV Series means that despite smaller fields than some existing tours and those running against the LIV Invitational events, [strength of field] remains highly competitive and among the top few in the industry,” Norman wrote.

According to LIV Golf data, the winners of the first three events would rise significantly in the world rankings if they were awarded OWGR points. For example, South Africa’s Charles Schwartzel, the first winner in London, would have climbed from 125th to 85th. Brandon Grace, who was first in Portland, would move up from 128th to 78th, and Henrik Stenson, winner at Bedminster, would move from 173rd to 80th.

Schwartzel is currently ranked 121st in the OWGR, Grace is 139th and Stenson is 176th.

World Ranking points are used to determine exemptions and fields for the majors: Masters, PGA Championship, US Open and The Open.

“These moves (along with others that would occur) are significant not only because of their effect on players’ personal endorsements and playability (i.e., major exemptions), but also on the accuracy and credibility of the OWGR itself.” , writes Norman.

“Not including the players’ performance against these industry leaders [LIV] fields, OWGR are now incorrect. If this goes on much longer, the rankings will become even more inaccurate and marginalized, with many of the LIV Golf players having lower rankings than they deserve, as well as non-LIV Golf players enjoying falsely boosted rankings. Simply put, it will be impossible to consider the OWGR ratings accurate or even relevant if the OWGR continues to miss 48 of the best golfers in the world.”

Johnson, a former world No. 1 golfer, fell from 13th to 21st, his worst position since 2015, since joining LIV Golf. Koepka dropped from 19th to 25th and Reed moved from 38th to 49th. Mickelson, a six-time major winner, started the year ranked 34th in the world but is now 104th.

There are 14 criteria to achieve eligibility for OWGR recognition, and Norman noted that LIV Golf does not directly meet all of them. One of the criteria includes not making the cut after 36 holes; LIV Golf tournaments are 54 holes with no cuts.

But other tournaments, including the BMW Championship, Tour Championship, Hero World Challenge and World Golf Championships, have no reductions and are still awarded OWGR points.

“It would be wrong in any way to deny points to LIV players in light of OWGR awarding points to other tour players under similar, if not less competitive circumstances,” Norman wrote.

Other criteria that LIV Golf does not directly meet include tournaments with an average field of at least 75 players (LIV has 48 players on 12 teams of four); tour holding an annual open qualifying school before the start of each season; a structured opportunity for at least five players to move onto the full member tour that their app offers (in LIV’s case, the Asian Tour); and a tour demonstrating that it has followed the OWGR guidelines for a period of one year.

Norman wrote that between the LIV Golf Invitational Series and the International Series, which will be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour in 2023, LIV events will have an average field of 88 players. LIV Golf plans to host a LIV promotional event where players will have a “chance to win their place to play” and its top five players at the end of each season will be awarded a full card to the Asian Tour.

“Although LIV Golf has been in operation for over a year, the LIV Golf Invitational Series is still in its infancy,” Norman wrote. “In light of the implications for OWGR and the belief that it is not providing adequate points to LIV Golf players, and in view of the unprecedented strength of LIV Golf’s field for an early-stage tour, we have insisted that OWGR be given the comfort of LIV status Golf, as it is clearly in the best interests of OWGR, the players and the game to do so.”

Also Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reviewed a draft contract for LIV players, and it includes clauses requiring them to be available to recruit others in the league and to obtain permission before giving exclusive interviews.

The draft contract reviewed by the Journal did not include any signing bonuses, although the Journal said one detail was a $1 million bonus for winning a major championship.

Among other provisions in the draft agreement was approval for most of the logos they carry and branded products they use at events.

The newspaper reported that clothing requirements were noted “repeatedly” in the draft contract it reviewed, and that players should only wear appropriate “team attire” during any LIV activity or “any other covered golf activity.”

“Player agrees to wear LIV Golf branding (or other branding provided by the League Operator) at any tournament and any other golf tournament you participate in anywhere in the world,” it said.

The newspaper quoted a person familiar with LIV’s thinking as saying that this clause is aimed at next year, when the 12 teams for the year will be decided.

He cited another provision requiring players to agree to refrain from “providing exclusive interviews or comments” regarding any league event or activity without approval. persuade players to enter into multi-year player participation agreements with the League Operator.”

The newspaper said the draft agreement shows players generally signing away their media rights from LIV events, similar to the PGA Tour regulations.

It also says that LIV golfers can play anywhere in the world, provided it is not the same week as the LIV Golf event. Northern Ireland’s Graham McDowell missed the Irish Open this year because it was the same week as the LIV Golf Invitational-Portland.

This report uses information from the Associated Press.

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