LIV Saudi golf league issues biggest PGA Tour threat yet with world rankings application

Neil McLeman quizzes Poulter and Westwood on LIV Golf morals

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The LIV Golf league has posed its biggest threat yet to the PGA Tour after reports suggest that the new league will soon submit an application to the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) to have their events eligible for world ranking points. 

The Saudi Arabian funded invitational series has shook up the golfing world this week with many of the sport’s top names, including Phil Mickleson, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter joining the new format. 

The tour’s organisers say LIV golf is designed to give golfers more freedom and allow participants to earn more money. However, the series has come under criticism due to Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record with Amnesty international describing the tournament as sportswashing. 

LIV Golf already poses a huge threat to the PGA. The Saudi Arabian investment fund has pledged £2 billion for the project allowing organisers to offer huge rewards to winners. This weekend’s inaugural event, held at the British Centurion Club, will offer around £3.2 million to the winner. In a stark contrast the winner of this year’s US Masters, one of the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour, earned just £2.1m. 

The tour also takes a different format to the traditional one favoured by the PGA. Competitors will only play 54 holes in comparison to the usual 72. This has been described as ‘progressive’ by Mickleson. 

Now the LIV Golf tour could be set to pose an even risk to the PGA. Reports by golfing website Bunkered suggest the organisers are planning on applying for World Ranking points to be awarded at their events. The application could come as early as next week. An anonymous source told the site: “A successful world rankings application would be a huge vote of confidence for LIV Golf and an acknowledgement that this new venture is both credible and serious.

“It would also potentially open the floodgates for more players to commit to the Series.”

The tour already meets most requirements for ranking points, with those it is yet to meet not considered deal breakers by the OWGR. There is no clear timeline for when the LIV Golf application would be voted on – but it is another big development in the ongoing saga. 

Earlier today, the PGA announced indefinite bans for all players involved in this weekend’s tournament, raising tensions between the two tours and the participants. 

In response LIV golf released a statement calling out the PGA for being vindictive and for deepening the divide between the Tour and it’s members by stopping them from playing golf. 

While there are many uncertainties regarding the situation, it is clear that it has been one of the biggest weeks in the sport’s history, the repercussions of which could be felt for generations to come. 

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