The LIV breakaway circuit is considering turning its back on golf’s traditional rankings system amid growing exasperation at how their request for recognition in the official standings has so far been overlooked.
Although the Saudi-backed league has no plans to withdraw its long-standing application to the Official World Golf Ranking body, which if successful would open a route into the majors for many of their players, they are exploring the possibility of using an alternative ranking system to determine eligibility to the new qualifying school they are launching in November ahead of their 2024 season.
Sportsmail understands LIV are monitoring the newly-launched Sports Illustrated World Golf Rankings as well as the Universal Golf Rankings, both of which allocate points for performances on Greg Norman’s controversial tour, unlike the OWGR.
Having launched their second season last week without OWGR recognition, it is understood LIV might make a switch to one of those lesser established systems if they continue to be snubbed across their next two events, in Tucson later this month and Orlando at the start of April.
The situation with the OWGR has led to LIV’s star names plummeting down the standings, with Dustin Johnson’s latest ranking of 54th held up as evidence that the existing structure has become far too inaccurate.
While Johnson remains eligible for majors, the problem is more acute for players further down the LIV pecking order who are close to falling outside the cut-offs for the big four tournaments, or have done already.
The Greg Norman-led LIV Tour are considering turning their backs on golf’s traditional rankings system
Dustin Johnson (L) has come to typify problems in the rankings since the breakaway happened
LIV’s latest application to the OWGR was filed in October and a return letter earlier this year is believed to have outlined that they still do not meet the criteria. The specific details of the criteria have been unclear, with the OWGR not commenting on ongoing applications, but sources told Sportsmail one key obstacle is the predominant absence of ‘relegation’ from their circuit.
LIV have attempted to resolve that issue for the 2023 season by introducing the relegation of four golfers from their 48-man roster – three of the four promoted players in their place would come from the qualifying school – but there is considerable confusion within the sport at how that sits with the guaranteed participation of certain players. A source pointed to Talor Gooch’s contract, which was made public last year during court wranglings in the US and revealed a non-relegation clause until the end of the 2025 season.