LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman warned the world rankings on Wednesday that they risk becoming a “laughing stock” if they refuse to award points to players from the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit.
The issue of LIV Golf’s events being recognised by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) system may be critical to the company’s future.
If players can earn ranking points from LIV events, qualifying for the sport’s four majors becomes easier.
“It makes OWGR look obsolete if they don’t (accept LIV),” Norman told Melbourne’s The Age newspaper.
Isn’t it a laughingstock to the OWGR if they wake up at the end of the year and Dustin Johnson is ranked 102 in the world?
“They have two options: they can fold or they can incorporate LIV into OWGR. We’ll get on with it. After that, everyone is content.”
The emergence of LIV Golf this year has thrown the sport into disarray, with a slew of top PGA Tour players opting to switch to a series with some of the richest purses in history.
The new circuit, backed by the nearly limitless resources of the kingdom’s sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund, has been accused of “sportswashing” Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
The PGA Tour has taken a zero-tolerance stance toward the series, which features three days of no-cut tournaments and a team competition, and those who defect have been suspended.
Despite the PGA Tour’s stance, Norman urged tournament organisers to allow LIV players to compete.
“They (the PGA Tour) have no right to dictate what each of those majors should do. They are separate organisations. Yes, some of their members serve on their board. I understand and accept it “He stated.
“[However], if you were a broadcaster, you would question the value of your television investment if you didn’t have the strongest field in each and every one of them. I hope they remain [neutral, as Switzerland has].”
So far, the most high-profile golfer to make the switch has been Norman’s fellow Australian Cameron Smith, the Open champion who was world number two when he made the switch earlier this month.
He will lead one of the 12 LIV Golf four-player teams in 2023, alongside other major winners such as Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Sergio Garcia.
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