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LIV Golf player Branden Grace has launched a passionate defence of the Saudi-backed organisation’s efforts to acquire Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.
The South African was one of 50 players who signed a letter to OWGR chairman Peter Dawson urging the organisation to grant LIV Golf the points, and speaking to Sky Sports News reporter Jamie Weir ahead of this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Grace justified that move by saying: “If you look at the field that’s playing you’ve got the number two in the world, who’s playing on the LIV tour. You know, those guys are... all of us, we play golf, we’ve supported all the tours in the world."
You can watch the interview below.
Branden Grace, one of the signatories of LIV players’ letter to OWGR last week, outlined to me why he feels they merit world ranking points (1/2) pic.twitter.com/dsWFFH1Z6HSeptember 28, 2022
He also explained there is definitely a pang of regret that he, and others, may never experience a Presidents Cup again and how things have “gotten out of hand” but he hopes for some compromise (2/2) pic.twitter.com/JDU1LMtMZVSeptember 28, 2022
Earlier, Rory McIlroy said that, while he had no issue with LIV Golf being granted OWGR status, "you can't make up your own rules". However, Grace appeared to counter those comments, pointing out that, in his opinion, some of the criteria for gaining OWGR status is already being met.
He said: “There's some qualification criteria that’s also being met. You know, guys winning the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit. There is criteria for that. There’s guys playing on the Asian Tour which has a chance to qualify for those events. You know, if you’re lying top three, top four, you get into the events for a certain amount of time, I’m told you have to play well on those again to qualify for the next ones.
Video: What Is LIV Golf?
"Then you have the guys that obviously, you know, you need these things, and you need to get into the certain qualification criteria to be able to start something like this. You know, you look at WGCs and all that sort of thing – also limited field events, also no cuts, and as far as I know there’s no such thing saying that it needs to be 72 holes. So when you think about things like that, I know it’s the beginning of it, but I hope that sooner or we’re going to get there.”
Meanwhile, Grace was also adamant that he should be allowed to play on other tours. He said: “If you keep your minimums and all that sort of stuff I don’t see why you should be limited to only playing one tour. You know, I’ve played on the European Tour since '09. They’ve never had any issue before I was playing on the PGA Tour back then. So why is this different? I’m still doing something I’m good at. I’m still doing something I love doing. I’m still representing not just myself and my family but my sponsors that get behind me and my country."
However, one area both Grace and McIlroy do appear to agree on is the need to heal the divisions in the game. On those, the Northern Irishman said earlier: "I don’t want a fractured game. The game of golf is ripping itself apart right now and that’s no good for anyone." Grace echoed that comment, saying: "I hope sometime in the future that things can maybe calm down. I think things have gotten out of hand a little bit too much."
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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