Host of LIV pros hunt for backdoor into majors this week on Asian Tour

Individual winner Charl Schwartzel walks alongside teammates Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen of Stinger GC during day three of the 2022 LIV Golf Invitational - London event.

Major winners Charl Schwartzel, left, and Louis Oosthuizen, right, are among the LIV pros playing this week's Internationl Series event in Oman.

Charlie Crowhurst/LIV Golf/Getty Images

More than two years since the LIV Golf-PGA Tour feud broke out, the ramifications are continuing to permeate the sport. Look no further than this week’s Asian Tour International Series Event in Oman.

Despite offering a $2 million total purse, far lower than purses found on the PGA Tour or LIV, two major champions are in the field, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, along with 19 other LIV pros.

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LIV Golf officially denied World Ranking points. Here’s what that means
By: Sean Zak

What gives? It’s all about world ranking points and, ultimately, the majors.

Since its inception, LIV Golf tournaments did not dish out world ranking points to its competitors. The upstart league had hoped the Official World Golf Ranking would change that last year, but in October the OWGR officially announced LIV events would not receive points due to the fact that the tournament formats were to dissimilar to other pro tours.

This presents a major problem for LIV players. The OWGR is the primary pathway to qualify for golf’s four major championships. The Top 100 earn a spot in the PGA Championship, the Top 60 into the U.S. Open and the Top 50 into the Masters and The Open.

With the OWGR denying LIV world ranking recognition, and the PGA Tour barring them from playing, LIV pros have few avenues to halt their collective plummet in the world ranking.

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Why a ‘flawed’ World Golf Ranking is actually good for fans
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But while they can’t play on the two primary men’s tours, they can compete on the Asian Tour, especially in the PIF-funded International Series, of which the Oman event is a part. And the Asian Tour does award OWGR points.

In addition to Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, the list of LIV entrants into this week’s Oman tournament includes Lucas Herbert, Joaquin Niemann, Dean Burmester, David Puig, Mito Pereira, Abraham Ancer, Anirban Lahiri, Matt Jones, Eugenio Chacarra, Scott Vincent, Kieran Vincent, Sebastian Munoz, Jinichiro Kozuma, Peter Uihlein, Danny Lee, Branden Grace, Matthew Wolff, Carlos Ortiz and Hudson Swafford.

But there’s one issue with these players’ world-ranking scheme. All of them have seen their rankings fall drastically since joining LIV. Oosthuizen, for example, has fallen all the way to No. 137. The amount of world ranking points awarded at a tournament are based in part on the strength of the field. Given all these competitors’ poor rankings, relatively few world ranking points will be dished out this week in Oman.

For more information on the complicated LIV world ranking saga, check out my colleague Sean Zak’s column on how LIV’s OWGR rejection accelerated pro golf’s war.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham Editor

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