The Official World Golf Rankings has reportedly claimed that it has not received any communication from LIV Golf in weeks as the Saudi-funded golf league continues to seek recognition and world ranking points.
Despite offering large prize money and having a star-studded player lineup, LIV Golf has been hosting events without recognition from the OWGR. PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh believes LIV Golf wrongly assumed it would quickly receive the necessary accreditation.
“They have made a bad assumption that this will be a quick process. It never has been,” said Waugh in an interview with the Times of London.
Although LIV Golf has made applications for accreditation, they have not responded to the latest correspondence from OWGR. As a result, Waugh cannot estimate how long the process will take.
“They might have to solve things as well, and it’s not clear whether they’re willing to,” he said.
Several prominent LIV players have criticized the OWGR, with Phil Mickelson claiming that there is collusion to keep the PGA Tour on top and hinder LIV Golf’s success.
Awaiting green light
The eligibility concerns for LIV Golf are focused on their tournament format, which includes 54-hole and no-cut events. Aside from that, the OWGR has been critical of the lack of access to LIV Golf and the team concept.
The 2023 circuit featured a locked 48-player field with limited changes due to injuries. Players qualified by finishing in the top 24 of the 2022 season-long points race, being recruited by team captains, or earning the sole spot given to Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent, who topped the International Series Order of Merit.
The LIV Golf League has reportedly paid considerable sums to high-profile players such as Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, with a $25 million purse at each event. After the DP World Tour won the right to impose fines on members who have played in the league, LIV has shouldered a significant chunk of the financial burden.
Waugh considers this an unsustainable business model. LIV may be able to fund it for a while, but ultimately, burning through money is not accomplishing much. He has advised the Saudi-funded series on the necessary adjustments to make if they receive the green light.
Mike Whan, the CEO of the United States Golf Association (USGA) as well as a member of the OWGR board, had also addressed LIV Golf’s application two weeks before, saying, “We’re not just rushing in to figure it out, because it’s different.”
“There are some things about LIV that you could probably address mathematically,’’ said Whan, considering other elements that present challenges in ensuring fairness to all players and tours.
Response from LIV
LIV Golf disagreed with Waugh’s statement that it had not responded. The league claimed to have received two letters from the OWGR this year and replied to both letters.
“At the end of April, we received a letter from OWGR which asked for us to further clarify some points that we have already addressed, as well as some additional queries they have pertaining to the financials of our business model,” said a LIV Golf spokesman in a statement revealed to Sports Illustrated.
LIV Golf has asked the OWGR to clarify why the information is necessary. It is also willing to make adjustments to comply with OWGR’s regulations but has not received a clear direction. However, it has received a letter saying the OWGR is still deliberating on its application.
In an effort to advance its OWGR application, it is known that LIV Golf previously collaborated with the MENA Tour in 2022.