LIV Golf series will not earn world-ranking points in Bangkok despite Mena Tour tie-up

OWGR says it received insufficient notice to award points to players following Dubai-based tour's 'strategic alliance' with Saudi-backed circuit

A sign of LIV Golf at the Stonehill Golf Course in Pathum Thani, Thailand, which will host the latest LIV golf event starting Friday. Bloomberg
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Players competing in the upcoming LIV Golf events in Bangkok and Jeddah will not earn world-ranking points despite a new partnership between the Saudi-backed circuit and the Mena Tour.

The Mena Tour announced a strategic alliance with LIV Golf on Wednesday, which looked set to result in the breakaway series earning world-ranking points.

The tour confirmed the Saudi Arabia-backed series would become part of, and sanctioned by, the Dubai-based circuit. Launched in 2011, the Mena Tour has been recognised by the Official World Golf Rankings since 2016.

But on Thursday, the OWGR said that it had not received enough notice to carry out a review before the LIV Golf invitational events in Bangkok, Thailand, from October 7-9, and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from October 14-16, tee off.

The OWGR confirmed that it is currently reviewing the changes to the Mena Tour.

The body said in a statement on Thursday: "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 and the LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah.

"Only when 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'.

"Regular official Mena Tour events conducted over 54 or 72 holes with a cut after 36 holes, and its Tour Championship, typically constructed over 54 holes with no cut, remain eligible for inclusion in the OWGR."

LIV Golf, which staged its first event in June, has to date not been given ranking points.

The Mena Tour, which like LIV Golf comprises 54-hole events, had said prior to the OWGR's response that this week's Bangkok Invitational would be the first event on the series to earn world-ranking points.

In statement released late on Wednesday, Atul Khosla, the President and Chief Operating Officer 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.”

The Mena Tour, which returned earlier this year following a two-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic, holds events primarily across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. It provides a pathway for players into the Asian Tour and Asian Development Tour.

LIV Golf Thailand forms the opening event of the 2022/23 Mena Tour season.

The Mena Tour had said on Wednesday that the final field for the Bangkok Invitational would be submitted to the OWGR ahead of play starting on Friday, when the final field rating and winners’ points were expected to be confirmed.

It added that, “as a result of the alliance, all LIV Golf players have joined the Mena Tour”.

World ranking points carry significant weight in gaining entry into golf's four majors. Last month, the 48 players who contested the LIV Golf event outside Chicago sent a joint letter to OWGR chairman Peter Dawson urging him to award ranking points to the series.

The Thailand event, which tees off on Friday, represents the sixth LIV Golf tournament since its launch, and will feature reigning Open champion Cameron Smith and former world No 1, and two-time major champion, Dustin Johnson.

Updated: October 11, 2022, 10:14 AM