LIV pros are dominating Asian Tour event in pursuit of world ranking points

Louis Oosthuizen hits drive during 2024 International Series Oman tournament

Louis Oosthuizen is tied for the lead with fellow LIV pro Carlos Ortiz at the International Series Event in Omna.

Jason Butler/Getty Images

LIV Golf is off this week, with the next scheduled event beginning March 1 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. But LIV’s players aren’t. Many of them are playing the Asian Tour’s International Series event in Oman, and you don’t have to look hard on the leaderboard to find them.

Through three rounds at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, LIV players are dominating the tournament. Tied for first place at 12 under is major champion and early LIV convert Louis Oosthuizen, along with fellow LIVer Carlos Ortiz.

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But it doesn’t stop there. Tied for third you’ll find American LIV pro Peter Uihlein, just in front of LIV’s Lucas Herbert and Kieran Vincent, who are at 10 under through the first 54 holes.

The two players tied for 10th also cash LIV paychecks: Joaquin Niemann, who earlier this week received a surprise invite to the 2024 Masters, and Matthew Wolff, Brooks Koepka’s much-maligned former LIV teammate.

Of the 21 LIV players in the field, seven of them are within the top 10 with one round to play.

Why are all of these players, who are making considerable money on LIV, plying their trades in Oman this week, and clearly grinding hard to win? It’s all about world ranking points.

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The Official World Golf Ranking is the primary way players earn spots in the four major championships in men’s golf: the Masters, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.

But LIV tournaments have never awarded world ranking points, and after the OWGR’s decision in October, they won’t any time soon. So LIV players, whose rankings have dropped significantly after joining the upstart tour, are forced to play elsewhere to earn points.

One of the few places they can is on the Asian Tour, and especially in the PIF-funded International Series events, of which this week’s Oman tournament is a part.

It’s hard to say how many world ranking points are up for grabs in Oman. But given that the strength of the field is weak in terms of OWGR, even the winner is unlikely to be rewarded with significant points.

But Oosthuizen is a good example of the ground players can make up in a short amount of time. Last year, Oosthuizen fell all the way to No. 441 in the OWGR. But after two wins in South African events sanctioned by the DP World Tour late last year, he’s climbed all the way to No. 137. A third win this week should see him climb even higher.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham Editor

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