Rebels from the LIV tour have asked golf’s rankings to recognize the breakaway series, claiming their existing system is “undermined” and “void” without it.
In a letter to Official World Golf Rankings, signed by 48 players who pitched in at the fifth LIV event in Chicago last week, the group wrote: “An OWGR without LIV would be incomplete and inaccurate, equivalent to leaving Belgium, Argentina and England from the FIFA rankings.’
The defectors’ latest boost in legitimacy comes at a time when they are falling behind in the standings after cashing in on the Saudi-backed series, whose events are not currently eligible for ranking points. A request was filed in July amid concerns from LIV golfers that they might not qualify for future majors if their push is unsuccessful.
The letter, whose co-signatories included Open champion Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, questioned the neutrality of the OWGR’s eight-member board, citing that half were PGA Tour-affiliated LIV were engaged in an ugly power struggle.
It read: “About 23 tours are integrated into the OWGR universe and LIV has earned its place among them. Four LIV golfers have held the number one position in the OWGR. LIV’s roster includes 21 of the last 51 winners from the four Majors. The level of competition at an average LIV event is at least that of an average PGA Tour event. We know because we played in both.
“Each week that goes by without the involvement of LIV athletes undermines the historical value of OWGR.”
The letter added: “The case for LIV’s inclusion is strong, but we have concerns that members of your board will conflict and prevent the OWGR from acting as it should. Four of the eight members have ties to the PGA Tour, which LIV Golf unfortunately sees as an adversary. Other board members have unfairly made harsh comments about LIV. The current overwrought environment makes your own judgment crucial.
“We urge you to make a positive decision quickly – for the sake of the integrity of the ladder, the game and all of us who love the sport.”
LIV’s push to be ranked has caused quite a stir within the sport, not least because in its current configuration it appears unable to meet a number of OWGR criteria, including competitions exceeding 72 instead of 54 holes are played, which corresponds to an average field size of 75 instead of 48 and a 36-hole average.