LIV Golfer Moves Back Inside World's Top 50

Harold Varner III jumped two places to World No.49 despite not earning world ranking points at the weekend

Harold Varner III takes a shot during a practice round before the 2023 Saudi International
Harold Varner III is unexpectedly back in the world's top 50
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Because of the inability of LIV Golf to offer its players world ranking points, attention has regularly turned to the plight of players who have tumbled down the rankings since opting to play on the big-money circuit.

Previously, some of its biggest names, including Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson, have fallen out of the top 50, while the winner of LIV Golf Mayakoba, Charles Howell III, fell another 11 places after the weekend to World No.312 – a drop of 139 places since singing for LIV Golf last July.

Even more damaging was the drop out of the top 100 of Richard Bland and Sebastian Munoz, which places their chances of qualifying for May’s second Major of the year, the PGA Championship, in jeopardy.

Bizarrely, though, it wasn’t all bad news for LIV Golf players in the world rankings following the tournament at El Camaleon Golf Club. Harold Varner III began last week’s tournament as World No.51, but even though his appearance meant he didn’t accumulate so much as a single world ranking point in Mexico, he rose two places to sneak back inside the world’s top 50 at World No.49.

He wasn’t the only LIV player to experience an unexpected boost either. New recruit Mito Pereira climbed two places as well, from World No.50 to World No.48. In both cases, though, the rise is highly likely to be the exception rather than the norm over the weeks to come.

Going the other way, Varner III’s Range Goats GC teammate Talor Gooch has seen his world ranking drop by a place to World No.44, with a fall out of the top 50 likely in the coming weeks.

For Varner III, Pereira and Gooch, whether they remain in the top 50 or not will at least not affect their eligibility for this year’s Masters. All three were in the top 50 at the end of last year, meaning they qualify.

Nevertheless, for Varner, a move back into the elite group will have been an unexpected bonus after a somewhat disappointing performance in Mexico, where he finished tied for 27th. The tricky part, though, will be staying there.

Mike Hall

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.