LIV players seek ratings validation, comparing themselves to the Big Ten


Absolute power, several names you would recognize from their past successes, and a few unknowns are enjoying the fruits of a vast financial windfall and attracting many new recruits these days. But this isn’t a story about the Big Ten, it’s about LIV Golf.

As it emerges from its latest tournament – won by absolute powerhouse Cam Smith – LIV Golf continues to press forward towards its goal of recognition by the Official World Golf Rankings. Earning this recognition would give LIV players a more direct route to the majors, making LIV a much more attractive alternative to the PGA Tour.

The 48 players who participated in the Chicago area LIV event last week co-signed a letter to OWGR President Peter Dawson seeking to validate LIV and award ranking points to the tour which does not no longer reached. Given the large number of big winners currently playing on LIV, players have argued that a world ranking without LIV is not a complete picture of the state of golf today.

“An OWGR without LIV would be incomplete and inaccurate,” they wrote, “the equivalent of leaving the Big 10 or the SEC out of the US college football standings, or leaving Belgium, Argentina and England out of the FIFA rankings.”

LIV golf events are 54-hole, non-cut, shotgun-start tournaments in which each player earns a salary each week. This format is a stark departure from the 72-hole Tour events with 36-hole cuts and no paycheck guarantees, and questions about the viability and fairness of the format to test players’ mettle – as well as the long-standing animosity between the Tour and LIV – have kept LIV’s rating status in limbo.

The letter, signed by notables such as Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and others, sidesteps the issue of LIV tournament competition and instead focuses on the quality of the players involved.

“Some 23 circuits are embedded in the OWGR universe, and LIV has earned its place among them,” players wrote. “Four LIV golfers have held the number one position on the OWGR, and one is currently number two. LIV’s roster includes 21 of the last 51 winners of the four Majors. The level of competition at the average LIV event is at least equal to that in an average PGA Tour event. We know that because we’ve played in both.”

“Fans deserve inclusive and accurate ratings,” the letter concludes. “Failing to include 48 of the best golfers in the world would mean fans are being denied what they deserve. And, one might add, players being denied what they want. There is no timeline yet for the OWGR decision.

The 2022-23 PGA Tour season is already underway. LIV’s 2022 season has three events remaining, all in October, to be played in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Bangkok and Miami.

Dustin Johnson and Cam Smith seek validation for LIV. (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Contact Jay Busbee at or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.


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