Skip to main content

Decision Time Is Coming for LIV Golf's Official World Golf Ranking Application

The OWGR chairman said a conclusion is imminent, 15 months after the Saudi-backed circuit filed an application for world ranking points.

Some 15 months after initially submitting an application, the LIV Golf League appears on the verge of finding out if it will be granted world ranking points for its tournaments.

Peter Dawson, the chairman of the Official World Golf Ranking, told the website Thursday that "we’re coming close to a conclusion, that’s all I can say," while at the Dunhill Links Championship, a pro-am style event played at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns in Scotland.

Dawson, the former CEO of the R&A, heads the organization that administers the OWGR and decides whether or not various tours looking to be accredited meet various criteria to be included.

Range balls are pictured at a 2023 LIV Golf tournament.

Some 15 months after filing an application, LIV Golf will soon learn whether its players will receive world ranking points.

The OWGR is made up of representatives of the four major championships, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley and another DP World Tour executive, Keith Waters. The latter three had previously recused themselves from reviewing the LIV Golf bid.

LIV first applied for OWGR accreditation last July, after playing two events of its inaugural eight-event schedule. It at times has been vocal about being denied points and has pointed out that it has worked with the OWGR to answer all questions about its bid, suggesting it was prepared to make changes if warranted and if feasible.

Those who are competing in LIV Golf events have seen their OWGR positions plummet as they are not getting points for LIV events.

Cam Smith is currently the highest-ranked player at No. 14, with reigning PGA champion Brooks Koepka 17th.

The OWGR typically requires a tour to be in operation for a year before it will grant accreditation, mostly to see how it operates. LIV Golf has other roadblocks such as its 48-player fields, lack of a 36-hole cut and no weekly qualifying. It does plan to have a qualifying tournament, called a Promotions event, at the end of this year. Its team format has also come under scrutiny because of how it could impact individual play.

“We’ve had a lot of work to do with the rankings because the LIV format and some of the qualification criteria are very different to other tours that are part of the ranking,” Dawson told the website. “We have to be fair to everybody, not just the new guys but the other tours as well.”

The OWGR’s website lists 24 tours across the world that are receiving points. Although it does not publish its ranking criteria, various sources have said that the list is a "guideline" that includes a disclaimer that a tour’s final outcome is solely determined by the OWGR board—regardless of whether it meets the guidelines or not.

OWGR representatives met in July at the British Open and it appeared at that time that it was going to wait on the resolution of the "framework agreement" between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which backs LIV Golf. This timeline appears to now be sooner.

“(The application process) has gone on independently to the rankings discussion,” Dawson explained. “The ranking board will be very interested in that outcome and the landscape of men’s professional golf.

“We will no doubt have to examine our criteria and what we do based on what they come up with. To be honest, I probably think they’ve got a bit of work to do but I’m not on the inside."

The framework agreement announced on June 6 included a deadline to be finalized by Dec. 31.

LIV Golf has two more events this year, next week in Jeddah and its season-ending Team Championship the following week in Miami. It is expected to begin the 2024 season in early February.

Dawson is playing in the Dunhill Links as an amateur and is scheduled to play Friday’s round at Carnoustie with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF who is playing with LIV Golf’s Peter Uihlein.

“Yasir and the Saudi Public Investment Fund are putting a lot of money into the game and it is to be embraced and welcomed,” Dawson said. “I look forward to meeting him, I’ve never spoken to him before.

“There’s clearly been some startup issues and it was very good to see the announcement that they’re trying to get together. I hope things get sorted out and they succeed.”