LIV Golf players call on Peter Dawson to grant world ranking points

Fifty LIV Golf players have signed a letter to former R&A chief executive Peter Dawson calling on him to play fair by allowing the breakaway circuit to offer world ranking points.

Former R&A chief executive Peter Dawson is chairman of the Official World Golf Ranking. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.
Former R&A chief executive Peter Dawson is chairman of the Official World Golf Ranking. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.

The letter, which has been supported by all 48 players involved in the last LIV Golf event in Chicago as well as a non-playing captain and a reserve player, has been sent to Dawson in his role as chairman of the Official World Golf Ranking.

It claims that the rankings will be “incomplete and accurate” without LIV players receiving points and also expresses concerns about the OWGR board containing PGA Tour and DP World Tour members.

The traditional tours are fighting tooth and nail to try and prevent Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed circuit securing a foothold in the game.

The letter states: “As the athletes who are ranked, we depend on OWGR not just to qualify for the most important events, including the Majors and Olympics, but to tell us where we stand among our peers.

“Trust in the OWGR has been widespread and well-deserved. To maintain trust, we urge you – as one of the true statesmen of sports - to act appropriately to include, on a retroactive basis, the results of LIV Golf events in OWGR’s ranking calculations.

“An OWGR without LIV would be incomplete and inaccurate, the equivalent of leaving the Big 10 or the SEC out of the US college football rankings, or leaving Belgium, Argentina, and England out of the FIFA rankings.

“Some 23 tours are integrated into the OWGR universe, and LIV has earned its place among them. Four LIV golfers have held the No 1 position on the OWGR, and one is currently No 2.“

Two-time major winner Dustin Johnson and current Open champion Cameron Smith have won the latest LIV Golf events in Boston and Chicago respectively. Smith is the current world No 3 but didn’t pick any points for his success on Sunday.

The letter adds: “Every week that passes without the inclusion of LIV athletes undermines the historical value of OWGR. As time goes by, LIV golfers automatically decline in the rankings.

“For example, Dustin Johnson was ranked 13th on OWGR shortly before he announced he would play in LIV tournaments. He now ranks 22nd – despite finishing eighth, third, second, and first in the first four LIV events.

“Over Labor Day weekend in Boston, he defeated 15 golfers who had finished either first or second in the four majors, including the Champion Golfer of the Year for 2022. For the rankings to be accurate, DJ deserves to move up, not down.”

The OWGR board of governors includes PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, USGA CEO Mike Whan, R&A CEO 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.

“The case for LIV’s inclusion is strong, but we have concerns that members of your Governing Board are conflicted and are keeping the OWGR from acting as it should,” the LIV Golf letter continues. “Four of the eight members have connections to the PGA Tour, which unfortunately views LIV Golf as an antagonist.

“Other members of the Board have made unfairly harsh remarks about LIV, with one of them calling the organization “not credible

”The current overwrought environment makes your own judgment crucial. In your athletic, business and golf management career you have won a stellar reputation for impartiality and integrity. Your work at the R&A and the OWGR shows you know how to combine tradition and innovation.

“The OWGR’s mission, as stated on your website, “is to administer and publish, on a weekly basis, a transparent, credible, and accurate Ranking based on the relative performances of players.”

“How can such a system possibly exclude players competing at such high levels against some of the strongest fields of the year for large purses, at such high-profile events?

“We understand that LIV Golf formally applied for admission to the OWGR in mid-July. We hope the story we read today about the decision being slow walked so LIV golfers will slide down and to harm LIV is not accurate.

“We call on you to render a positive decision quickly – for the benefit of the integrity of the rankings, the game and all of us who love the sport.

“After all, the fans deserve rankings that are inclusive and accurate. Failure to include 48 of the world’s best golfers would mean the fans are being denied what they deserve.”

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.