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LIV golfers pen letter to OWGR chief urging him to include the rebel tour in the rankings

All 48 LIV Golfers have written a joint letter to OWGR boss Peter Dawson urging him to give the rebel series ranking points.

The Official World Golf Ranking has so far not allowed events on the Saudi-funded circuit to qualify for ranking points, prompting rebel players and CEO Greg Norman to lament the exclusion.

LIV golfers have now taken their displeasure a step further as they wrote to OWGR chairman Dawson urging him to ‘act appropriately’ and include the breakaway tour to ‘maintain confidence’ in the rankings.

The letter was signed by all 48 players who attended the LIV Golf event in Chicago last weekend and Bubba Watson.

The defectors argued that the exclusion of LIV Golf from the rankings “undermines the historical value of the OWGR”.

They even compared the exclusion of the Saudi-backed breakaway to leaving Belgium, Argentina or England out of the FIFA rankings or the Big 10 of the SEC out of the American college football rankings.

The letter read: ‘Their stewardship has secured the official World Golf Ranking status as one of the most respected institutions in sport. As ranked athletes, we rely on the OWGR to not only qualify us for the most important events, including Majors and the Olympics, but to tell us where we stand among our peers. Trust in OWGR has been widespread and well deserved.

All 48 LIV Golf players (pictured L-R Dustin Johnson, Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez) have written a joint letter to OWGR chief Peter Dawson urging him to award the series points
All 48 LIV Golf players (pictured L-R Dustin Johnson, Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez) have written a joint letter to OWGR chief Peter Dawson urging him to award the series points

All 48 LIV Golf players (pictured L-R Dustin Johnson, Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez) have written a joint letter to OWGR chief Peter Dawson urging him to award the series points

1663691137 808 LIV golfers pen letter to OWGR chief urging him to
1663691137 808 LIV golfers pen letter to OWGR chief urging him to
1663691138 208 LIV golfers pen letter to OWGR chief urging him to
1663691138 208 LIV golfers pen letter to OWGR chief urging him to
The letter was signed by all players who attended the recent event and Bubba Watson
The letter was signed by all players who attended the recent event and Bubba Watson

The letter was signed by all players who attended the recent event and Bubba Watson

‘To maintain trust, we urge you – as one of the sport’s true statesmen – to act appropriately to retroactively include the results of LIV Golf events in the OWGR’s ranking calculations.

‘An OWGR without LIV would be incomplete and inaccurate, the equivalent of leaving the Big 10 or SEC out of the US college soccer rankings or leaving Belgium, Argentina and England out of the FIFA rankings.’

The letter went on to argue that LIV Golf had earned the right to be included as it possesses the same caliber of field as the PGA Tour, with players saying “they know because they’ve played both”.

They argued that LIV had earned its place among the 23 tournaments currently integrated into the rankings, as its roster boasts four former world No. 1s, the current No. 2 and 21 of the last 51 major winners.

“Every week that goes by without including LIV athletes undermines the historical value of the OWGR,” the letter added.

They even compared the ban to leaving the England national team out of football's FIFA rankings
They even compared the ban to leaving the England national team out of football's FIFA rankings

They even compared the ban to leaving the England national team out of football’s FIFA rankings

It claimed that LIV possesses the same caliber of field, with Cam Smith, as the PGA Tour
It claimed that LIV possesses the same caliber of field, with Cam Smith, as the PGA Tour

It claimed that LIV possesses the same caliber of field, with Cam Smith, as the PGA Tour

– As time goes by, LIV golfers automatically drop down the rankings. For example, Dustin Johnson was ranked 13th on the OWGR shortly before he announced that he would be playing in LIV tournaments. He is now in 22nd place – despite finishing eighth, third, second and first in the first four LIV events.

‘Over the Labor Day weekend in Boston, he defeated 15 golfers who had finished either first or second in the four Majors, including the Champion Golfer of the Year for 2022. For the rankings to be accurate, DJ deserves to move up, not down. ‘

The letter also accused the board of having members who were “conflicted and prevented the OWGR from acting as it should” because of their connections to the PGA Tour, and referenced the current battle between the traditional tour and the startup.

The players argued that defector Dustin Johnson should have moved up the rankings
The players argued that defector Dustin Johnson should have moved up the rankings

The players argued that defector Dustin Johnson should have moved up the rankings

It said: ‘Tag for LIV’s inclusion is strong, but we are concerned that members of your board are conflicted and preventing OWGR from acting as it should.

‘Four of the eight members have connections to the PGA Tour, which unfortunately regards LIV Golf as an antagonist. Other members of the board have made unfairly harsh remarks about LIV, with one of them calling the organization “not credible.”

‘The current congested environment makes your own judgment essential. In your athletic, business and golf leadership career, you have earned a stellar reputation for impartiality and integrity. Your work at the R&A and OWGR shows that you know how to combine tradition and innovation.’

The players also said they hoped a story they read about the decision to include LIV in the rankings being ‘slow-moving’ was not true, referencing a Sports Illustrated article which reported that LIV officials thought they were ‘slowly played’.

LIVE THE GOLFER’S LETTER IN HERO

Dear Mr Dawson,

Your stewardship has secured the official World Golf Ranking status as one of the most respected institutions in sport. As ranked athletes, we rely on the OWGR to not only qualify us for the most important events, including Majors and the Olympics, but to tell us where we stand among our peers. Trust in OWGR has been widespread and well deserved.

To maintain trust, we urge you – as one of the sport’s true statesmen – to act appropriately to retroactively include the results of LIV Golf events in the OWGR’s ranking calculations. An OWGR without LIV would be incomplete and inaccurate, the equivalent of leaving the Big 10 or SEC out of the US college soccer rankings, or leaving Belgium, Argentina and England out of the FIFA rankings.

About 23 tours are integrated into the OWGR universe, and LIV has earned its place among them. Four LIV golfers have been ranked number one at the OWGR and one is currently ranked second. LIV’s list 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 of the average PGA Tour event. We know because we’ve played in both.

Every week that goes by without the inclusion of LIV athletes undermines the historical value of the OWGR. As time goes by, LIV golfers automatically drop down the leaderboard. For example, Dustin Johnson was ranked 13th on the OWGR shortly before he announced that he would be playing in LIV tournaments. He is now in 22nd place – despite finishing eighth, third, second and first in the first four LIV events. Over the Labor Day weekend in Boston, he defeated 15 golfers who had finished either first or second in the four Majors, including the Champion Golfer of the Year for 2022. For the rankings to be accurate, DJ deserves to move up, not down .

The case for LIV’s inclusion is strong, but we are concerned that members of your board are in conflict and preventing OWGR from acting as it should. Four of the eight members are affiliated with the PGA Tour, which unfortunately sees LIV Golf as an antagonist. Other members of the board have made unfairly harsh remarks about LIV, with one of them calling the organization “not credible.”

The current congested environment makes your own judgment essential. In your athletic, business and golf leadership career, you have earned a stellar reputation for impartiality and integrity. Your work at the R&A and OWGR shows that you know how to combine tradition and innovation.

OWGR’s mission, as stated on its website, “is to administer and publish, on a weekly basis, a transparent, credible and accurate ranking based on the relative performance of players.”

How can such a system possibly exclude players competing at such high levels against some of the year’s strongest fields for big purses at such high-profile events?

We understand that LIV Golf formally applied for admission to the OWGR in mid-July. We hope the story we read today about the decision being made slowly so that LIV golfers will slide down and hurt LIV is not accurate. We urge you to make a positive decision quickly – for the sake of the integrity of the rankings, the game and all of us who love the sport.

After all, fans deserve rankings that are inclusive and accurate. Failure to include 48 of the world’s best golfers would mean denying the fans what they deserve.

The letter comes just days after CEO Greg Norman questioned how the OWGR could not award points to LIV golfers in an Instagram post where he also showed his support for fellow Australian Cam Smith following his win at the Chicago event last weekend .

Norman posted a barbed message, writing: ‘Who questions the real #1 & #2 in the world?

“On top of that, they are happy. Their families are happy. Their wives are happy. Their caddies are happy.

‘The team is a family. Everyone is in this together. This has never happened on the PGA Tour. As Cam Smith has said, we’ve given golf a heartbeat.

‘The fans hold us all accountable. They hold the PGA Tour accountable. They hold OWGR accountable.

1663691144 59 LIV golfers pen letter to OWGR chief urging him to
1663691144 59 LIV golfers pen letter to OWGR chief urging him to
Greg Norman (left) questioned how the OWGR could not award points to LIV golfers
Greg Norman (left) questioned how the OWGR could not award points to LIV golfers

Greg Norman (left) questioned how the OWGR could not award points to LIV golfers

‘How can OWGR ignore the fact that the two best players in the world – Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson – play on the tour?

‘When the fans talk, listen. Golf is a force for good.’

Smith, who is the aforementioned current world No. 2 in LIV’s ranks, decided earlier this month to drop the Rebel Tour from the rankings.

The British Open champion said he felt it was unfair that those who joined LIV Golf do not receive world ranking points and hopes that changes before his exemption to golf’s four majors expires.

Open champion and world No. 2 Smith planned the decision to rule out the Rebel Tour
Open champion and world No. 2 Smith planned the decision to rule out the Rebel Tour

Open champion and world No. 2 Smith planned the decision to rule out the Rebel Tour

“It’s a real shame we’re not getting world ranking points here,” Smith said ahead of his LIV Golf debut this week outside Boston.

“Having 48 of the best guys around the world playing and not getting world ranking points is maybe a bit unfair.

‘It’s still super competitive out here. I just really think it’s a bit unfair’.

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