Golf: DeChambeau, Koepka slam World Golf Ranking for snubbing LIV Golf

Bryson DeChambeau (above, in Bangkok) has dropped to 48th in the rankings from a career-high of fourth. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK - LIV Golf players Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka criticised the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) on Friday for dragging their feet over a decision on whether to award ranking points to those competing on the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit.

LIV Golf submitted an application to the OWGR board in July and this week formed an alliance with the little-known Mena Tour in a bid to fast-track its quest for ranking points but quickly learned that, for now, its players will remain ineligible.

"They're 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," former US Open champion DeChambeau said, after the opening round of the LIV Golf event in Bangkok.

"We're going to keep dropping down in the rankings to where our points won't ever matter. That's what they're trying to accomplish, and I hope that people can see right through that rather than believe the lies that they've been told."

DeChambeau, who won the 2020 US Open and has dropped to 48th in the rankings from a career-high of fourth, added that he hopes the OWGR retroactively awards ranking points for this week's LIV Golf event.

Without the ability to earn ranking points, which carry significant weight when it comes to gaining entry into golf's four majors, those competing on LIV Golf will ultimately be at risk of missing the blue-riband events.

Earlier this week, the Mena Tour, which holds events across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia and is among the eligible tours listed on the OWGR website, announced its partnership with LIV Golf.

The Mena Tour felt the alliance would allow LIV Golf players to start earning ranking points this week but the OWGR said it would need to review changes to the circuit's structure before making a decision on the matter.

Koepka, a four-times major winner and former world number one, took issue with the OWGR's response.

"I just hate when you sit on the fence. Just pick a side. If it's yes or no, just pick one. So I'm not a big fan of that,"said Koepka.

"Yeah, not to say something to where it's not really an answer and we'll think about it. I don't agree with - just pick a side. If it's yes, if it's no, it's fine, we'll figure it out from there."

Brooks Koepka hits his tee shot during the first round of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok tournament. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

According to the OWGR website, the ranking points breakdown is derived from each tournament's total field rating and points are awarded to players who make the cut and complete an event, subject to their finishing position in the tournament.

LIV Golf's 54-hole events do not have a cut.

The LIV Golf series is bankrolled by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and critics have accused it of being a vehicle for the country to attempt to improve its reputation in the face of criticism of its human rights record. REUTERS

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