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

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

All 48 LIV Golf players have penned a joint letter OWGR chief Peter Dawson urging him to grant the rebel series ranking points.

The Official World Golf Rankings has so far not allowed events of the Saudi-funded circuit to qualify for ranking points, leading rebel players and CEO Greg Norman to bemoan the exclusion.

LIV golfers have now taken their disgruntlement one step further as they wrote to OWGR chairman Dawson, urging him to ‘act appropriately’ and include the breakaway tour in order to ‘maintain trust’ in the rankings.

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

The defectors claimed that the exclusion of LIV Golf from the rankings was ‘undermining the historical value of the OWGR’.

They even liked 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 US college football rankings.

The letter read: ‘Your stewardship has ensured the Official World Golf Ranking status as one of the most respected institutions in sports. As the athletes who are ranked, we depend on OWGR not just to qualify for the most important events, including the Majors and Olympics, but to tell us where we stand among our peers. Trust in the OWGR has been widespread and well-deserved.

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

The letter was signed by all players who competed at the latest event and Bubba Watson

The letter was signed by all players who competed at the latest event and Bubba Watson

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

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

The letter continued to claim that LIV Golf had earned the right to be included as it possesses the same caliber of field as the PGA Tour with the players stating ‘they know because they have played both’.

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

‘Every week that passes without the inclusion of LIV athletes undermines the historical value of OWGR,’ the letter added.

They even liked the exclusion to leave England national team out of soccer's FIFA rankings

They even liked the exclusion to leave England national team out of soccer’s FIFA rankings

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

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

‘As time goes by, LIV golfers automatically decline in the rankings. For example, Dustin Johnson was ranked 13th on OWGR shortly before he announced he would play in LIV tournaments. He now ranks 22nd – despite finishing eighth, third, second, and first in the first four LIV events.

‘Over 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 Governing Board of having members who were ‘conflicted and keeping the OWGR from acting as it should’ due to their connections to the PGA Tour, referencing the current battle between the traditional tour and the startup.

The players argued that defector Dustin Johnson should have risen in the rankings

The players argued that defector Dustin Johnson should have risen in the rankings

It said: ‘The case for LIV’s inclusion is strong, but we have concerns that members of your Governing Board are conflicted and are keeping the OWGR from acting as it should.

‘Four of the eight members have connections to the PGA Tour, which unfortunately views 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 overwrought environment makes your own judgment crucial. In your athletic, business and golf management career you have won a stellar reputation for impartiality and integrity. Your work at the R&A and the OWGR shows 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 walked’ was not true, which was referencing a Sports Illustrated article that reported LIV officials believed they were being ‘slow played’.

LIV GOLFER’S LETTER IN FULL

Dear Mr. Dawson,

Your stewardship has ensured the Official World Golf Ranking status as one of the most respected institutions in sports. As the athletes who are ranked, we depend on OWGR not just to qualify for the most important events, including the Majors and Olympics, but to tell us where we stand among our peers. Trust in the OWGR has been widespread and well-deserved.

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

Some 23 tours are integrated into the OWGR universe, and LIV has earned its place among them. 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 at the average PGA Tour event. We know because we’ve played in both.

Every week that passes without the inclusion of LIV athletes undermines the historical value of OWGR. As time goes by, LIV golfers automatically decline in the rankings. For example, Dustin Johnson was ranked 13th on OWGR shortly before he announced he would play in LIV tournaments. He now ranks 22nd – despite finishing eighth, third, second, and first in the first four LIV events. Over 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 have concerns that members of your Governing Board are conflicted and are keeping the OWGR from acting as it should. Four of the eight members have connections to the PGA Tour, which unfortunately views 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 overwrought environment makes your own judgment crucial. In your athletic, business and golf management career you have won a stellar reputation for impartiality and integrity. Your work at the R&A and the OWGR shows you know how to combine tradition and innovation.

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

How can such a system possibly exclude players competing at such high levels against some of the strongest fields of the year for large 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 slow walked so LIV golfers will slide down and to harm LIV is not accurate. We call on you to render a positive decision quickly – for the benefit of the integrity of the rankings, the game and all of us who love the sport.

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

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

Norman sent a barbed message, writing: ‘Who’s questioning 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 have given golf a heartbeat.

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

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

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

Smith, who is the aforementioned current world No. 2 in LIV’s ranks, slated the decision to exclude the rebel tour from the rankings earlier this month.

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

Open champion and world No. 2 Smith slated the decision to exclude the rebel tour

Open champion and world No. 2 Smith slated the decision to exclude the rebel tour

‘It’s really a shame that we are not getting world ranking points out here,’ Smith said ahead of his LIV Golf debut this week outside Boston.

‘To have 48 of the best guys around the world playing, and not to get world ranking points, is perhaps a little bit unfair.

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

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