'You Can't Just Make Up New Rules As You Go' - Hovland On LIV OWGR Battle

Hovland is the latest star to speak out about LIV Golf's ongoing OWGR battle

Hovland watches his tee shot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Viktor Hovland is the latest to wade in on the ongoing battle between LIV Golf and its quest for Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) recognition, insisting "you can't just make up new rules as you go."

The Norwegian, who is set to make his 2022-23 campaign debut this week at the ZOZO Championship in Japan said: "I don't know all the different regulations and how difficult it is to get World Ranking points. I just think at the end of the day, if you want to get World Ranking points, you obviously have to follow the process. They're obviously making an effort to get those points, but I don't think it's right to give them an exemption to just get points overnight. They obviously have to follow the process, whatever the process might be."

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As well as having its application endorsed by the Asian Tour, LIV Golf entered into a strategic alliance with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Tour in the hope it would "immediately qualify" for ranking points for its Bangkok event. That however, was denied by the OWGR board on the grounds of "insufficient notice", saying that "only after the review is complete will a decision be made on awarding points to the MENA Tour's new "Limited Field Tournaments" [the LIV Golf Invitational Series]."

Former Masters champion Patrick Reed perhaps best emphasises how the absence of OWGR points has impacted LIV players, having dropped out of the top-50 for the first time since 2014. The American Ryder Cup hero reached a career high of World No.6 in 2020, however his defection to the Saudi-backed circuit has seen his status become increasingly precarious. Following a disappointing missed cut in the DP World Tour’s Open de France at Le Golf National in September, Reed now finds himself outside of the top-50 for the first time in nearly a decade.

Despite the division the civil war has created amongst players, Hovland acknowledged the golfing abilities of those that now ply their trade on the Greg Norman-fronted circuit: "At the same time, they have some really good players over there and if some of those players drops outside the top-100 in the world, that's not good for the World Rankings, either. So I don't really know what the right answer is, but you can't just make up new rules as you go."

LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman made similar comments back in September, stating: "It makes OWGR look obsolete if they don’t [accept LIV]. If they wake up at the end of the year and Dustin Johnson is 102 in the world, is that not a laughing stock to the OWGR? There’s two ways they can go: they can either fold, or they include LIV into OWGR.”

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.