LIV Golf's ongoing battle for world ranking points remains one of the biggest stories in the sport, and it has now emerged that the decision will not be influenced by the heads of both the PGA and DP World Tours.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and DP World Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley have both recused themselves from the case along with DP World Tour Chief Operating Officer Keith Waters.
“At the last OWGR board meeting [in December] myself, Jay Monahan and Keith Waters recused ourselves and now a separate committee made up of the four Majors will now determine the application,” Keith Pelley said according to The Telegraph.
“I have not looked at the LIV application and I've not given my opinions on an application I've not seen. So, as far as LIV goes, we are not involved in it and have no influence or say in what transpires.”
The trio departing from the LIV Golf case means that the new separate committee of Augusta National Golf Club, the R&A, the USGA and the PGA of America will seal the fate of whether the Saudi-backed circuit gains sanctioning from the Official World Golf Ranking.
This will be music to LIV CEO Greg Norman's ears, who will have renewed hope after The Masters confirmed that LIV golfers will still be allowed to tee it up in the year's first Major at Augusta National. The Open has done the same, and it is expected that LIV players will also be able to tee it up at the PGA Championship and US Open.
Greg Norman is, to no surprise, desperate for his tour to gain OWGR sanctioning and has constantly pleaded with the game's stakeholders for the application to go through successfully.
"It doesn't make sense from a Major's perspective [LIV not having OWGR points]," he said in October. "It doesn't make sense from a broadcaster's perspective. You're paying and investing for your strength of the field and degrading the strength of the field by not allowing LIV players to get OWGR points is not doing the game of golf any good.
"Rise above it all, it's good for the players, it's good for the game of golf, it's good for production, it's good for corporations, it's good for OEMs, it's good for fans, it's good for everybody. Just because you have a negative viewpoint and you're one of the voting members of an independent organization, that you hate LIV and you vote against it... Grow up."
A total of 50 LIV players also signed a letter pleading with OWGR Chairman Peter Dawson in October. “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," it read. "Four of the eight members have connections to the PGA Tour, which unfortunately views LIV Golf as an antagonist.
"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.”
A 54-hole tour, the Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana, recently gained OWGR sanctioning in a move that will have given Norman some hope. That tour, however, features a 36-hole cut - something that LIV currently doesn't offer. It also conducts a qualifying school and provides opportunities for local and regional players, therefore meeting the 'OWGR Eligibility and Format Criteria'.
It remains to be seen if, and when, LIV gains sanctioning from the OWGR this year. Until then, the biggest story in golf rumbles on.
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Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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