Greg Norman's bombshell announcement as Matt Fitzpatrick wins US Open
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has revealed that the Saudi-backed rebel competition will apply to have Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points associated with its events as early as Monday.
Speaking during the US Open - won by Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick by one stroke ahead of Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler - the Aussie golf legend said the breakaway series had a "very compelling" application after talking through the process with the OWGR's technical committee.
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The move - if granted - would allow LIV players to start earning points and climbing up the world rankings.
If players can earn rankings points from LIV events, it becomes easier for golfers on the circuit to qualify for the four major tournaments.
Norman told Fox that LIV plans to submit an application for rankings entry imminently.
"We're actually applying for OWGR points right now. We're actually putting in our application probably over the weekend, if not Monday," Norman said.
"And it's a very compelling application. We've worked very, very closely with the technical committee understanding all the components of what you need to apply for it."
While making the announcement, Norman took a shot at PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who has repeatedly slammed the new Saudi Arabian-backed Tour and is one of the eight board members with the OWGR.
"It'll be interesting to see if Jay Monahan recuses himself from that vote because of what he said on television with [CBS Sports announcer] Jim Nantz the other day," Norman said.
"So, it's very interesting and it's sad to be, you know, putting that additional exerting pressure on it because our tour is a good tour. It's supported, it's got an incredible field. Our point should be that if we get the OWGR points, then everything else takes care of itself."
Players who currently compete in LIV Golf events do not earn OWGR points, which is used by major championships and other events to determine the field.
If those players can’t compete elsewhere, it will become increasingly difficult to make it into majors in the future.
For example, Rory McIlroy won 46 points in the world rankings for his win at the Canadian Open last week, and Fitzpatrick earned 100 points for winning the US Open.
Charl Schwartzel, who won the first LIV Golf event in London, didn’t earn anything.
It's unclear how the LIV Golf series would receive points for each event if its application is approved.
PGA Tour events are 72 holes with large fields while the LIV Golf series has just 48 players competing in just a handful of 54-hole events, so using the same point system wouldn't make sense.
Monahan is joined by the DP World Tour CEO and the R&A’s chief executive on the board, along with the leaders of the USGA, the PGA of America, Augusta National Golf Club and the International Federation of PGA Tours. The chairman is Peter Dawson.
PGA Tour suspends players for making LIV Golf switch
Monahan slammed Norman and LIV Golf in an interview during the final round of the Canadian Open last week, and the PGA Tour has adopted a zero-tolerance stance towards the series by suspending 17 former or current tour players for making the switch.
“It’s my job to protect, defend and celebrate our loyal PGA Tour members, our partners and our fans, and that’s exactly what I did,” Monahan said.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody how clear I had been about how we were going to handle the situation … Why do they need us so badly? Those players have chosen to sign multi-year lucrative contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again.”
Norman also criticised Monahan and the PGA Tour after he was called out for working with Saudi Arabia. Norman, along with Phil Mickelson and others, has been heavily criticised for overlooking the horrific crimes and human rights abuses that Saudi Arabia has committed.
Norman even downplayed the killing of former Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by saying that “we’ve all made mistakes.”
"Look, I'm disappointed people go down that path, quite honestly," Norman said.
"If they want to look at it in prism, then why does the PGA Tour have 23 sponsors doing $40-plus billion worth of business with Saudi Arabia?
"Why is it okay for the sponsors? Will Jay Monahan go to each and every one of those CEOs of the 23 companies that are investing into Saudi Arabia and suspend them and ban them? The hypocrisy in all this, it's so loud. It's deafening."
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