Greg Norman calls on players to earn points at LIV Golf events

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Once the US Open is over, the golf world could once again focus on the LIV series, given that its second event – ​​and the first on American soil – is set to begin in less than two weeks.

LIV Golf has already trumpeted the upcoming additions to Portland, Oregon, of Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, and other notable names are expected to leave the PGA Tour before this event begins. But another fight is going on behind the scenes, with LIV executives working to get their tournaments eligible for Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).

This effort became more public over the weekend when LIV Golf Investments CEO Greg Norman made an appearance on FoxNews in which he pointed out that PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan sits on the eight-member OWGR Board of Directors. Monahan has indefinitely suspended PGA Tour players who have signed with LIV Golf, and last week he vehemently defended the move, telling CBS that those players would not be allowed to ‘free-ride’ off the stamp of his organization.

“It will be interesting to see if Jay Monahan recuses himself from this vote because of what he said on television with [CBS’s] Jim Nantz the other day,” Norman said Saturday on Fox News. “So it’s very interesting and it’s sad to put that extra pressure on it, because our tour is a good tour. It’s sustained, it’s got incredible ground.

“The OWGR points should be awarded, and if we get the OWGR points, then everything else takes care of itself.”

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This is a crucial question for the Saudi-funded upstart, as global ranking is a major factor in determining eligibility for the four majors. Without OWGR accreditation, players who focus on the eight LIV events rather than other circuits will slip down the rankings, potentially diminishing the appeal of the series’ massive purses and signing bonuses.

“We are currently in the process of applying for OWGR points,” said Norman, who added that this was a “very compelling” application. “We worked very, very closely with the technical committee, understanding all the elements of what you need to apply.”

While the star power assembled by LIV Golf, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, no doubt has the attention of OWGR officials, other hurdles remain. LIV’s intentionally unorthodox approach features 54-hole tournaments played by just 48 players, with no cuts. These changes to standard professional golf formats could make it difficult for the OWGR board to determine how much weight to give to LIV events.

The biggest problem for LIV Golf, however, could be the decision makers at the OWGR, all of whom are deeply tied to the existing structure of high-level golf and some of whom have expressed unease with the Saudi-backed business. saudi. In addition to Monahan, other board members include USGA CEO Mike Whan, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh, International Federation of PGA Tours official Keith Waters and CEO of DP World Tour (formerly known as PGA European Tour) Keith Pelley.

The USGA allowed LIV Golf players who were suspended by the PGA Tour but who had already qualified for the US Open to participate. But Whan recently said the situation was fluid and he could “foresee a day” when players banned by the PGA Tour might find it harder to carve out major spots.

“What we’re talking about [LIV Golf] it was different two years ago, and it was different two months ago than it is today,” the USGA CEO said. Told journalists during a press briefing before the tournament. “We’ve been doing this for 127 years, so I think [the USGA] has to take a long view of this and see where these things are going.

“I am saddened by what is happening in the professional game,” Whan added. “Especially as a fan, because I love watching the best players in the world come together and play, and it’s going to fracture that. I heard it’s good for the game. At least from my point of view outside right now it looks like it’s good for a few people playing the game, but I’m having a hard time understanding how good it is for the game.”

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Waugh echoed those remarks last month when he said his organization was “a fan of the current ecosystem and the world golf ranking system and everything that goes into creating the best golf course.” . When asked if LIV golfers were likely to be included in the 2023 PGA Championship field, he replied, “I don’t know what it will be like next year. We don’t think it’s good for the game.”

In his comments to Fox News, Norman said his belief that “golf is a force for good” made him comfortable associating with the Saudi regime, which has been criticized for human rights abuses. man and was implicated in the 2018 assassination of a Saudi dissident and the Washington Post. columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

“For me, if golf is good for the world, golf is good for Saudi Arabia [Arabia]“, he said, “and you see this growth internally there. It is extremely impressive.

The two-time British Open winner and former world No. 1 saw a clip of Bob Costas of Turner Sports recently stating on CNN that LIV Golf players were taking “Saudi blood money.”

“Look, I’m disappointed that people are going down this road, quite honestly,” Norman said on Fox News. “If they want to look at it through that prism, then why does the PGA Tour have 23 sponsors doing over $40 billion in business with Saudi Arabia? Why is it okay for the sponsors ?

“Will Jay Monahan go to each of these CEOs of the 23 companies investing in Saudi Arabia,” Norman continued, “and suspend their and ban their?

“The hypocrisy in all of this is so strong, it’s deafening.”

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