When considering the prize money Charles Howell III earned for his LIV Golf Mayakoba win, there is no doubt it counts as one of the biggest wins of his career.
After all, the American scooped $4m for winning the individual event and another $750,000 for helping Crushers GC win the team event. Of course, that counts for nothing with the Official World Golf Ranking and his reward in the standings for his victory at El Camaleon Golf Club was to fall 11 places.
Howell III began the tournament ranked World No.301, but after lifting the trophy in Mexico, he fell 11 places to World No.312. That’s his lowest ranking since March 2001 and a far cry from the career high of World No.15 reached less than two years later. It continues an all-too-familiar trend of LIV Golf players dropping down the world rankings with limited options to accumulate the points.
Since Howell III signed for LIV Golf last July, he has plummeted 139 places, but the dilemma facing its players comes into sharper focus when considering his latest drop despite his big-money victory. LIV Golf has been embroiled in a protracted battle to receive eligibility to award world ranking points, but with no sign of that being concluded, players face a second season where their primary circuit can’t assist.
Considering his inevitable fall down the rankings, it would be easy to assume that Howell III’s main motivation for joining LIV Golf was the financial rewards it offers. If that were the case, he would certainly be comfortable with his decision considering the vast sum he has just won.
However, after signing, he revealed that money was not a factor after all. Instead, he explained the opportunity to be involved in a new venture and the ability to travel with it were what excited him. He said: “Twenty-two years with the PGA Tour, I was ready for this, for a change. I'm also ready to travel internationally, and to see other parts of the world. It's also been no secret that my family loves to travel when they can, and to show my kids other parts of the world, not just - the United States of America isn't the world.”
While the 14-tournament League schedule sees over half of its 2023 events in the USA, aside from Mexico, players will also tee it up in England, Spain, Singapore, Australia and Saudi Arabia, so he will be able to further indulge his urge to see the world over the coming months.
Meanwhile, if Howell III wants to climb back up the world rankings, he has the chance to do so by combining it with travel by following in the footsteps of several other LIV Golf players on the Asian Tour. After all, while it doesn't offer the huge prize money of LIV Golf, it at least gives players the chance to win the precious points.
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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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