Looks like LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman won’t have any beef with the PGA Tour or DP World Tour should the Official World Golf Ranking eventually deny LIV’s application for world ranking points.
Speaking to the UK Telegraph’s James Corrigan, Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour’s CEO, said that he and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan have recused themselves from reviewing LIV Golf’s application. Pelley said the pair and DP World Tour COO Keith Waters, who also sits on the panel, removed themselves from the review process on the advice of legal counsel.
“At the last OWGR board meeting [in December] myself, Jay Monahan and Keith Waters recused ourselves, and now a separate committee made up of the four majors will now determine the application,” Pelley told Corrigan. “I have not looked at the LIV application and I’ve not given my opinions on an application I’ve not seen. So, as far as LIV goes, we are not involved in it and have no influence or say in what transpires.”
Saudi-funded LIV Golf is involved in two separate lawsuits — one with the PGA Tour and one with the DP World Tour — so it makes sense that both tours’ lawyers would advise their top executives to step back from anything related to LIV.
There’s an arbitration hearing next month to determine LIV Golf defectors’ eligibility to continue playing on the DP World Tour. The PGA Tour has suspended any player who has played in a LIV Golf event, and those suspensions were upheld in August by a U.S. district court judge in California.
The rest of the antitrust lawsuit by LIV against the PGA Tour is expected to progress throughout the next year.
With Pelley, Monahan and Waters stepping aside, the remaining OWGR board members to review the application include board chairman Peter Dawson, Augusta National executive director Will Jones, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh, R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers and USGA CEO Mike Whan.
The established process for applying to earn world ranking points takes at least a year, but LIV Golf’s events do not meet current criteria for earning points. LIV holds 54-hole, no cut events and it doesn’t have any established feeder tours. LIV submitted its application to the OWGR in July.
It’s the latest turn of events for LIV to earn points, which are crucial to players to earn entry into the majors.
In September, 50 players signed a letter addressed to Dawson urging him to quickly approve LIV’s application. The following month, the OWGR halted an effort by LIV to earn points by taking over a previously dormant Dubai-based mini-tour that had received world ranking points for 54-hole events.
LIV Golf is set to kick off its second season next month in Mexico, at the former host site of the PGA Tour’s World Wide Technology Championship.