The breakaway LIV tour is planning to use a board meeting at golf’s traditional home on Wednesday to demand its formal recognition in the world rankings, a move some will see as provocative and which is certain to increase tensions in the sport’s ongoing civil war.
The rebel tour’s latest attempt to gain a foothold in the sport will come at a board meeting of the Official World Golf Ranking on the eve of the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews, where the Saudi Arabia‑backed series’ formal application to gain world-ranking status will be top of the agenda.
Representatives of the four major championships, plus the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, are among those who must decide whether the LIV scheme fronted by Greg Norman can come under the official world golf ranking umbrella. As things stand, golfers do not collect world ranking points in LIV events. Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are among high-profile players who have broken from golf’s existing ecosystem to commit to LIV.
Some of these players are worried that their future ability to compete in major championships could be compromised by the failure to earn ranking points within the rebel tour. LIV executives believe they meet various criteria for ranking points, despite the current model of 54-hole tournaments with no cut and only 48 players in the field. There are likely to be 14 LIV competitions in 2023.
LIV has now put forward its case for ranking recognition, doubtless in the knowledge there was a meeting planned for the Open Championship week. Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, Augusta National’s Buzzy Johnson, Mike Whan of the United States Golf Association, and the PGA of America’s Seth Waugh are central to decision-making.
Intriguingly, so too are the PGA Tour’s commissioner, Jay Monahan, and Keith Pelley, chief executive of the DP World Tour. Monahan and Pelley have tightened the alliance between their organisations and sit in staunch opposition to the LIV model; it remains to be seen, therefore, whether the duo have to recuse themselves from this topic.
Keith Waters, who represents the international federation of tours, is the chief operating officer of the European Tour group. The Official World Golf Ranking is chaired by Peter Dawson, who is Slumbers’s immediate predecessor.
The R&A opted not to invite Norman to events for past champions during this Open. Yet the broader position of the ruling body on the LIV threat is unclear. Slumbers is likely to be questioned on the subject when he undertakes pre-Open media duties on Wednesday.