LIV Golf‘s attempt to gain world ranking points for its players via a backdoor deal with the Mena Tour have been snubbed by the body that organises the rankings, leaving the Saudi-backed series with no immediate prospect of being granted official status.

The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) has confirmed that LIV Golf events this season will not offer world ranking points, despite the Saudi-backed circuit’s new partnership with the MENA Tour, a Dubai-based tour that has offered world ranking points since 2016.

On Wednesday the Mena Tour announced a ‘strategic alliance’ with LIV Golf that would see all its events added to their schedule and all members of the LIV Golf circuit joining their tour. LIV Golf believed the move would make their events eligible to receive official world ranking points, potentially as soon as the Thailand tournament beginning today (Friday), although the OWGR said it had been given insufficient notice of the development and that a decision would only be made following a review.

Peter Uihlein, Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson, who won the team first prize at LIV Golf’s tournament in Chicago last month, are among the 50-plus LIV Golfers who will see their world ranking position continue to drop following the OWGR’s on-going refusal to offer points to LIV Golf events

MENA tour commissioner David Spencer responded by insisting this week’s Bangkok event should receive world ranking points and not be “treated any differently to any MENA Tour event, every one of which has received OWGR since we were accepted into the OWGR framework in 2016.” He also added: “Not including our event in this week’s OWGR render the results and subsequent player movements inaccurate.”

In a statement earlier this week, the OWGR said: “We received a communication from the MENA Tour on October 5 detailing significant changes to the MENA Tour’s membership structure, along with an outline of the initial series of tournaments in the 2022/23 MENA Tour season. OWGR notes that the first two tournaments in this series appeared to be the same as the LIV Golf Invitational Series tournaments in Bangkok and Jeddah. The communication from the MENA Tour included a starting field data file for the Bangkok tournament, confirming that to be the case.
“A review of the changes to the MENA Tour is now underway by the OWGR. Notice of these changes given by the MENA Tour is insufficient to allow OWGR to conduct the customary necessary review ahead of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok (7-9 October) and LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah (14-16 October).
Only after the review is complete will a decision be made on awarding points to the MENA Tour’s new “Limited Field Tournaments”, defined by the MENA Tour in its Regulations as “any MENA Tour-approved tournament, which comprises of a player field of less than 80 players.”

All 48 players who competed at LIV Golf’s tournament in Chicago last month sent a joint letter to OWGR chairman Peter Dawson urging him to award ranking points to competitors, although the application for their own world ranking status remains under review.

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