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Greg Norman (left) with Stonehill boss Ing Ratanavadi on day 1 of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok. Photo: LIV Golf

Greg Norman says decision to exclude LIV players from world golf rankings hurts the game

  • Golfing great says decision by governing body to deny LIV Golf players world ranking points does not make ‘logical sense’
  • LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok wrapped up its first round on Friday with 3 players tied for lead
LIV Golf

Greg Norman said the decision to exclude LIV players from official world rankings would ultimately hurt the major championships, after the governing body responsible for overseeing them said it would not rule immediately on the new outfit’s strategic partnership with the Mena Tour.

The LIV Golf CEO said what should have been a straightforward process to include LIV events on the Tour’s schedule, there by allowing his players to gain ranking points, had become unnecessarily complicated and mired in controversy.

“All I want in golf is consistency,” Norman told the Post at the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok. “And if you eliminate the bluster and the sentiment, you will get consistency.

“Golf deserves it, players deserve it and the fans deserve it. On top of that, what they’re doing really is hurting the major championships. It’s as simple as that. And all over what, competition? Legit competition that is additive to the system?

“It just doesn’t make logical sense and I’m a pretty logical guy.”

Fans were out in force during the first round of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok at Stonehill Golf Course in Thailand. Photo: LIV Golf

His comments come after the LIV Golf series announced a partnership with the Middle East and North Africa organisation.

The Official World Golf Ranking governing body subsequently rejected the proposal, saying the Mena Tour did not give sufficient notice and there would not be time to finish the review ahead of the Bangkok tournament and next week’s event in Saudi Arabia.

On Friday, the Mena Tour said the failure to award world-ranking points at the event in Thailand rendered the rankings “inaccurate”.

“Not including our event in this week’s OWGR render the results and subsequent player movements inaccurate,” David Spencer, commissioner of the MENA Tour, said in a statement.

Spencer added his organisation would “continue to work tirelessly to resolve this situation with the OWGR”.

The row continues a bitter feud with the established golf community in the US, which has splintered players and sparked accusations of Saudi “sportswashing”.

Norman, however, said it had very little to do with his Saudi backers.

“Everything I’ve done in the game of golf for 45 years is under the guise of growing the game of golf,” he said. “No matter where I went, what I’ve done, how I’ve done it, whether it’s on the golf course or off the golf course for my business or my brand, I’ve been consistent my whole life.

“So for me, it really hurts me internally because they are hurting the game of golf. To have this attitude for all the wrong reasons, just because you’re a monopolist.”

Bryson DeChambeau of the USA studies the line during the first round of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok at Stonehill. Photo: EPA-EFE

Speaking after day 1 of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok, former PGA Tour player Bryson DeChambeau, who shot 69 on Friday, said the decision by the rankings group was simply “delaying the inevitable”.

“We’ve hit every mark in their criteria, so for us not to get points is kind of crazy with having the top – at least I believe we have the top players in the world.”

At the end of the first round, Richard Bland, Branden Grace and Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra upstaged their more high-profile opponents to shoot 7-under 65s and share the lead.

Marc Leishman and Ian Poulter were a stroke behind while Kim Sihwan, Brooks Koepka and Morgan Jediah were among those two behind in the 54-hole event.

Dustin Johnson, who leads the overall money list with just over US$12.5 million in five events, shot 70, while Open champion Cameron Smith, who won the last LIV event in Chicago, carded a 72.