LIV Golf hopes to be a part of the Open after the fight for rankings points ends.
LIV Golf hopes to be a part of the Open after the fight for rankings points ends.

Greg Norman has asked the four majors directly to change their rules so that the LIV players can play. This comes after the breakaway league withdrew its application to become a world ranking body.

It is thought that the R&A will respond to the LIV Golf pressure for the first time this week when it announces its exemptions for the Open at Royal Troon in the summer.

Last year, Sport News reported that LIV was in talks with the governing body of St. Andrews. On Tuesday, a source at the Saudi-funded circuit said that there was “hope” that the Open organizers would “see sense” and make sure that the Ayrshire links “had the best players in the world.”

Norman, the CEO of LIV, sent an email to his players earlier on Tuesday to explain why they were giving up the usual way to get into the biggest tournaments.

In the letter, which Sport News has a copy of, Norman wrote, “We have put in a lot of work to fight for you and make sure your accomplishments are recognized within the existing ranking system.” “Unfortunately, OWGR [Official World Golf Rankings] hasn’t been very willing to work with us in a useful way.”

Norman then asked for a “independent ranking system.” He also said that LIV’s main goal now is to get the groups that run the Masters, Open, US Open, and US PGA to promise spots through the LIV order of merit.

Norman said, “We continue to look for meaningful communication and relationships with each of the majors to make sure that LIV golfers are fairly represented and golf fans all over the world have chances to see the best competition possible.”

It’s funny because it was the majors who turned down LIV’s entry in October. The big four golf tours are on the OWGR board, along with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, and DP World Tour COO Keith Waters, who speaks for the Federation of International Tours.

These three, however, stepped down a few months into the process after LIV asked to be recognized soon after its start in June 2022. This gave Norman hope, but the majors thought the separate league was too closed off, and they were also worried about the team aspect, which is very important to the long-term plan for the Saudi-funded circuit.

“We are not at war with them,” said Peter Dawson, head of the OWGR board, five months ago. “The choice not to let them run is not political.” It’s all about technology. It’s clear that LIV players are good enough to be ranked. There’s just no way for them to be ranked fairly with the other 24 tours and the thousands of players who participate on them.

Some people close to LIV, on the other hand, say that OWGR hasn’t given them much advice on how to make the bid accepted. They also think they’ve been “slow-played,” which is something Norman hinted at in his message to the 54 boys.

“Even if points were given right away for LIV Golf events, the OWGR system is set up in a way that makes it impossible for you to get back to the top of the rankings, where many of you belong,” he said.

“The rankings are set up to punish people who haven’t played regularly on a “Eligible Tour,” with the field ratings favoring PGA Tour play over other tours.” This is shown by the fact that only four of the top 50 players are not on the PGA Tour (Jon Rahm (3), Tyrrell Hatton (17), Brooks Koepka (30), and Cam Smith [45]); also, the general drop in LIV players’ rankings, despite their great results in LIV events.

“Not all of the best players play in PGA Tour events.”

Augusta recently did ask Joaquin Niemann, a 25-year-old from Chile who has won two of the last three LIV events, to next month’s major, but the Masters only talked about how well he played when he won the Australian Open in December. So far, none of the majors have given spots based on LIV success.

This snub has, of course, been criticized by people inside LIV. According to Talor Gooch, an American who won last year’s LIV order of merit but hasn’t qualified for or been invited to any of this year’s majors yet, Rory McIlroy’s historic career grand slam would come with “an asterisk” if he won the Masters.

Many people have laughed at those comments, but Paul Azinger, who led the 2008 Ryder Cup, does think that LIV has made PGA Tour play much worse.

“Not all of the best players play in PGA Tour events,” he told Golfweek. “That is over.” All of a sudden, the PGA Tour has quickly become the way to get into the LIV Tour, which is bad news for golf’s fans.

Azinger was NBC’s lead analyst until November of last year. He says he is “happy” that his job is over, even though talks with the US network over a new deal fell through.

To tell you the truth, Azinger said, “I’d rather call the Senior Tour than the PGA Tour.” “Well, at least they’re the best when you call them the best senior players in the world.”

This week, LIV holds its fourth $25 million event of the season in Hong Kong. At the same time, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a $20 million “signature event” on the PGA Tour, takes place in Orlando.

The PGA Tour and the DP World Tour are still in talks with the Saudi Public Investment Fund about how to bring together the top professional male golf game.


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