LIV Golf suffers major blow as it loses bid to earn ranking points

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Peter Dawson (R) Yasir Al-Rumayyan (L) - LIV Golf suffers major blow as it loses bid to earn ranking points

Peter Dawson, the chairman of the OWGR board (right) played golf with LIV golf chairman, Yasir Al-Rumayyan on October 6

Peter Dawson played golf with the governor of the $600 billion (£488 billion) Saudi sovereign wealth fund on Friday – and three days later informed Yasir Al-Rumayyan, one of the most powerful men in the world that, no, his LIV Golf League will not be granted access to the inner sanctum and so gain world ranking points.

‌If nothing else can be said about Dawson, the former R&A chief executive who is now the chairman of the Official Golf World Rankings board, then he is certainly a faithful servant to the rules.

‌How Yasir Rumayyan, the boss of the Public Investment Fund and the chairman of Newcastle United, will feel is anyone’s guess after not only enjoying 18 holes with Dawson during the glorified pro-am, but with Martin Slumbers, the R&A chief executive, on the previous day, in the DP World Tour event played over St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.

‌With the PGA Tour and DP World Tour recusing themselves from the OGWR deliberations it was essentially the four majors that voted against the LIV application. And so Dawson, who seemed so positive in comments about the dilemma last week, delivered the message that signifies there is yet another head-scratching twist in the battle that is supposed to be in peace talks.

‌Negotiations are undergoing between PIF and the two traditional Tours and the early dealings actually mentioned the traditional circuits helping to ensure that LIV is bestowed with official ranking status. But Tuesday’s news was stark. LIV Golf: stamped “rejected.”

‌“We are not at war with them,” Dawson told AP. “This decision not to make them eligible is not political. It is entirely technical. LIV players are self-evidently good enough to be ranked. They’re just not playing in a format where they can be ranked equitably with the other 24 tours and thousands of players trying to compete on them.”

‌Dawson is a non-voting member, but has previously indicated that the committee failed to come to terms with the lack of a halfway cut and only featuring 48 players. But the stumbling block was apparently the belief that LIV is a “closed shop”.

‌LIV has insisted that there is promotion and relegation –  and that this week in the final individual event in Jeddah will witness four players being ditched from the League –  but the OGWR has deemed that the scale of the turnover, and, thus, the jeopardy, is not sufficient.

‌The top 24 on the 2023 standings are guaranteed a berth in the 2024 season, but LIV signed several superstars to contracts that assures them of a place regardless of their performance. Among those currently outside the top 24 are Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter.

The absence of ranking points has been one of LIV’s main gripes since it played its inaugural event at the Centurion Club in St Albans 16 months ago. Dawson, himself, sees the absurdity of some of the game’s biggest names tumbling down the rankings into no-man’s land.

‌“Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, of course they should be in the ranking,” Dawson said. “We need to find a way to get that done. I hope that LIV can find a solution — not so much their format; that can be dealt with through a mathematical formula — but the qualification and relegation.”

‌The LIV players contacted by Telegraph Sport were not shocked, but none were prepared to talk on the record for understandable reasons as the deal-making continues. “Yasir will have got some kind of deal done at the Dunhill,” one LIV player said. “I’m predicting that we’ll be given places for eight players at the top of our standings for each major. And that solves it.”

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