It is not surprising that Greg Norman has applied to the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) organization for membership for his LIV tour. There are a handful of still relevant players (Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch) who have made the leap and would like to continue collecting ranking points. It’s called “having your cake and eating it too”.
As anyone who has ever played in a legitimate tournament knows, whether it be your club championship, an NCAA sanctioned event, or any other high-level amateur event, it’s entirely different from playing recreational golf with your buddies. The mere fact that all putts have to be holed out with total adherence to the rules of golf, adds an incredible amount of pressure and we all know what that can do to your golf game. And all that’s at stake is a trophy and perhaps the grudging respect of your peers. At the professional level, it’s a job that is tenuous at best. Play well and you get to keep playing or advance to a higher-level Tour. You can also afford to pay your caddy, your hotel, travel expenses, and the rest of the things we all have to pay for like a mortgage, and groceries.
All of the Tours that are members of the OWGR are 72-hole events (some Champions Tour events aside) with a cut. With a few exceptions, every Tour is based on meritocracy – the better you play, the more cash you pocket. Yes, bigger-name golfers have been accepting appearance fees to play events outside of their home Tours for years but it’s the exception rather than the rule.
Although the exact amount that all PGA Tour deserters have been provided is not officially published, some of the payments or contracts that have been bandied about seem outrageous. Certainly enough money for the rest of their lives and for the lives of Bryson’s “future family”. Excuse my digression, but why do these athletes think that providing a multi-million dollar cushion to each of their children is a smart idea? So, when you have a tour like LIV that plays only 54-holes, with shotgun starts, no cuts, and essentially guaranteed prize money on top of what they can win from inflated purses, you cannot equate that experience to what the golfers on all of the other OWGR member Tours endure. For recreational golfers, it’s like being given two mulligans a side, preferred lies, and automatic two-putts.
LIV events are no more than a series of well-paid exhibitions and should therefore not be considered for membership within the OWGR. A decision is looming and while the group making the final declaration may have self-serving reasons for turning down Norman’s application, they have all the ammunition they need to say NO!