LIV Golf’s application to receive Official World Golf Ranking points has been denied, according to reports from the Associated Press and Global Golf Post.

The OWGR board sent LIV Golf officials, including LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman, the notice on Tuesday morning. Sources had originally told Golf Digest that the Saudi-backed league had questions over its “competitive integrity”, and it appears those questions remain. According to GGP, the OWGR cited two broad areas for its decision: the 54-hole, no-cut format of 48-player fields, and both the limited access for players to join LIV and limited relegation for players who underperform.

“The important point is, this is not about the players. LIV players are self-evidently good enough to be ranked; there is no doubt about that,” Peter Dawson, chairman of the OWGR board, told GGP. “This is about, should a tour whose formats are so different and whose qualification criteria are so different, can they be ranked equitably with other tours who conform to the OWGR norm and have more competition to them than perhaps the closed shop that is LIV?”

LIV Golf officials later issued this response:

“OWGR’s sole objective is to rank the best players across the globe. Today’s communication makes clear that it can no longer deliver on that objective.

“Players have historically remained subject to a single world ranking to qualify for major championships, the biggest events, and for corporate sponsor contract value. A ranking which fails to fairly represent all participants, irrespective of where in the world they play golf, robs fans, players and all of golf’s stakeholders of the objective basis underpinning any accurate recognition of the world’s best player performances. It also robs some traditional tournaments of the best fields possible.

“Professional golf is now without a true or global scoring and ranking system. There is no benefit for fans or players from the lack of trust or clarity as long as the best player performances are not recognised.

“LIV will continue to strive to level set the market so fans, broadcasters, and sponsors have the assurance of an independent and objective ranking system and the pure enjoyment of watching the best golf in the world.”

LIV Golf applied for OWGR accreditation last July after its launch in June 2022. OWGR accreditation is a one-to-two-year process; nevertheless, Norman and LIV members went on the offensive for their case not being expedited, especially as LIV players plummeted down the ranking. When LIV began it boasted nearly two dozen players in the world’s top 100. As of writing, only two LIV members are in the top 50 and six in the top 100.

Even as the league called the rankings flawed and inaccurate, LIV officials tried to earn their way into the system. Last spring, LIV Golf attempted to circumvent the process by partnering with the little-known MENA Tour, believing its association with the mini-circuit would facilitate world ranking points. However, the OWGR denied the workaround effort, citing insufficient notice and lack of time to review.

As part of the framework agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (the financial backer of LIV), there was a mention of the parties in question co-operating to help LIV secure OWGR consideration. Conversely, because of Norman’s protests, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and Keith Waters of the International Federation of PGA Tours had previously recused themselves from the LIV decision.

OWGR accreditation for LIV events was imperative to members who were otherwise not exempt for major championships through past victories. With the decision, LIV Golf members will have to resort to local and sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open and Open Championships, with their avenues to the Masters and PGA Championship fields likely restricted.

LIV Golf is playing its 13th event of its 14-tournament schedule this week in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.