The arguments in the letter have all been put forward by Norman before, but the fact that the players are attaching their names to it clearly ups the ante and focuses on Dawson. “The level of competition at the average LIV event is at least equal to that at the average PGA Tour event,” it said. “We know because we’ve played in both.”
“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 to walk slowly so that LIV golfers slide down the rankings and cause LIV damage is wrong.
Rankings without LIV would be ‘incomplete and inaccurate’
The Dustin Johnson case is cited. “He was in 13th place shortly before announcing that he would be playing in LIV tournaments,” the letter reads. “He is now 22nd, despite finishing eighth, third, second and first in the first four LIV events. For the rankings to be accurate, DJ deserves to go up, not down.
“An OWGR without LIV would be incomplete and inaccurate, the equivalent of leaving the Big 10 or SEC from the US college football rankings, or leaving Belgium, Argentina and England from the FIFA rankings… We call on you to a quick and positive decision.”
Rebels want retroactive ranking points
They have even called on Dawson to “retroactively record the results of the first five LIV Golf events,” a scenario that would see Johnson back in the top 10 and Smith replacing Rory McIlroy as the world’s No. 2.
The chances of this happening quickly are on the minimal side of the distance. It is clear that Dawson is adamant that the process will not be rushed and that it will obey established protocols.
The rankings are at the center of qualifying for the majors and the Ryder Cup and are working on a two-year analysis of the results. The OGWR regulations state that LIV must meet the qualifying criteria for at least one year and, as it stands, LIV does not meet any of the qualifying criteria, including an average of 75 players per event over a season, a 36- holes cut and an open Q school held at the start of each season. LIV states that the Tours also violate these rules.
Getting the players involved shows that LIV is increasingly concerned about this issue. It’s a problem for their model and for recruiting new recruits, because players affected by the general PGA Tour bans and without a pre-exemption will miss the majors after they inexorably drop in the rankings. The whispers are that this is destined to become a major legal battleground in golf’s ever-escalating civil war.