‘We Knew What We Were Getting Into’ – Varner III On World Ranking Points

The American claims LIV Golf players signed up to the venture with their eyes open on OWGR risks

Harold Varner III with the LIV Golf trophy before the 2022 tournament in Jeddah
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Harold Varner III has added his thoughts to the debate over whether LIV Golf should qualify for Official World Ranking Status (OWGR), and was honest in his appraisal of the situation.

The American is preparing for the final regular event in the LIV Golf season in Jeddah this week – a tournament that has been subject of a report suggesting a cut could be introduced to help it qualify for OWGR points. However, Varner III explained that everyone signing up for LIV Golf was aware of the issue beforehand.

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He said: “For me, I think we knew what we were getting into. I think it's easy to sit here and say what could happen, what should happen. But obviously for me, I knew what was going to happen. Like, it wasn't going to be easy. I think the people at LIV did an unbelievable job... because I don't know about the check marks. Honestly I could care less. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew what could happen in my career and I accept that.”

Varner III became one of six new LIV Golf signings in August at a time when the Saudi-backed organisation’s efforts to acquire OWGR status were well publicised. His opinion is shared by the likes of PGA Tour stalwart Justin Thomas, who addressed the issue week’s after Varner III’s move, saying: “They knew very, very well going into it there's a good chance they won't have World Ranking points, and they took that risk. In my opinion, that's their own fault.”

While the view is not uncommon, it's a refreshing opinion from Varner III given he stands to lose out if LIV Golf fails to acquire the status. The American's comments were certainly less combative than those of another LIV Golf player, Graeme McDowell, who earlier claimed that the OWGR is inaccurate without counting the performances of players in the Series. He said: "The word ‘official’ has to go away from OWGR if they don't take care of the players out here."

LIV Golf has been locked in a battle to acquire OWGR for months. In September, 50 of its players signed a letter to OWGR chairman Peter Dawson urging the organisation to grant LIV Golf the status. Meanwhile, last week, a strategic alliance between LIV Golf and the MENA Tour was announced with the hope that it would allow it to immediately qualify for OWGR points.

Those hopes were dashed, at least for the time being, but regardless of the outcome, Varner reiterated he’s comfortable with his decision. He said: “I've had a great time out here. So the World Ranking thing, it's just been a part of golf for so long, and now all of a sudden some feathers have been ruffled. It's funny, though, I think. But it is what it is.”

Mike Hall
News Writer

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.