The divergent worlds of LIV Golf and golf’s two most dominant tours, the PGA Tour and the DP World, look on course for another major fallout after LIV Golf announced the formation of a new ‘strategic alliance’ with the little-known Middle East & North Africa Tour that could potentially see LIV Golf events being accorded Official World Golf Ranking points.
With LIV Golf events currently not qualifying for OWGR points due to their unique set up and format – 54 holes with no cut and qualification by invitation only – by aligning with the MENA Tour, players on the Saudi-back LIV Golf Series could conceivably be allowed to earn OWGR points, which are used in the qualification process for the four majors and other high-profile events, including the Ryder Cup.
The MENA Tour was launched in 2011 and traditionally stages around 15 events each season around the Middle East and Africa, with winners earning around $75,000. The tour, whose events are also 54 holes, has been recognised by the OWGR since 2016, although due to the weak fields does not attract anywhere near the points on offer on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour or even the Challenge Tour.
The alliance with the LIV Golf Invitational series will see the MENA Tour run as normal, with LIV Golf events interspersed within the MENA Tour’s schedule – almost as a tour within a tour. The alliance could come into effect as early as this Friday (October 7), the first day of the LIV Golf’s next event in Thailand, but it would require the board of the OWGR to ratify the new alliance before any points might be awarded.
Atul Khosla, the president of LIV Golf, said: “We are taking this mutually beneficial action to support the game at the developmental level and because of the importance and fairness of LIV golfers qualifying for OWGR points. We’re pleased to create pathways that give more opportunities for young players, while also giving fans rankings that include all the world’s best golfers.”
Neither the PGA Tour nor the DP World Tour has so far commented on this latest development, but as both bodies have board members on the OWGR it is likely that they will have a major role to play in whether LIV Golf’s latest move is successful or not.