Bryson DeChambeau Leaves Logic Behind on LIV and Ranking Points

Bryson DeChambeau, LIV Golf Invitational - Jeddah,(Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images)
Bryson DeChambeau, LIV Golf Invitational - Jeddah,(Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images) /

Physics major Bryson DeChambeau is supposedly a smart guy.  You have to be to major in physics which is founded on higher-level mathematics that includes imaginary numbers and equations that are half in Greek letters. But he has left his logical side of the brain when he’s talking about LIV and Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).

It’s either that or else he hasn’t looked for correct information. Or he and others are being asked to stand in front of a camera and say things that they know aren’t true.   That would be a bit scary, but it’s the tour they picked.

Wanting points for LIV events doesn’t make it happen.  Tournaments and tours all over the world all have the same requirements to get points because that’s the only way to value players on different tours, to measure apples and apples. It’s the only way points can be equitably distributed.  For some reason, LIV thinks it should be exempt from doing what others do to get points.

Dave Shedlowski, appearing on The Golf Show 2.0, on in late August, said that it was clear that LIV “had six or seven serious shortcomings” when it comes to getting world ranking points.

First, he noted, LIV doesn’t play 72-hole events. All are currently 54 holes.

Shedlowski said the OWGR will award points for 54-hole events, but only at “the developmental tour level, which is below the Challenge Tour or the Korn Ferry Tour.”

There’s no way that players like Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau and the majority of LIV golfers are considered developmental players. Or that their events are developmental events. These are, mostly, seriously experienced players with a handful of newbies who wanted the money. (Well, they all wanted the money, and nobody blames them for that.)

"The two-year time frame is driving LIV crazy because every week their players fall farther in the OWGR."

According to Shedlowski, another requirement is to have an average of 78 players participating. LIV limits its fields to 48, currently. So, to get to an average of 78, they would have to increase the size of their fields. They apparently don’t want to.  It can’t be a money problem.  So why not hire another 30 players?  Maybe they can’t get them.  Maybe they don’t want the next 30 they could get.

The OWGR asks tournaments to have a cut after 36 holes.  What would they cut to, 24 players?  That’s fairly ridiculous.  And after what round?  First, or second?  If they are playing to fans or the media, they need all their golfers available.  Or at least the ones people have heard about in the past.

The OWGR requires Monday qualifiers, Shedlowski says. And LIV doesn’t have that. They have hand-picked their players with promises we don’t know about, except that it’s a ton of money.

The OWGR requires a Q-School, not just once or twice, but every year.  LIV doesn’t want that either. They only want the people they have selected.

“LIV golf just falls short. There’s nothing political about it,” Shedlowski added. “They just don’t meet many of the criteria.”

Reading from the OWGR website, major championships, World Golf Championships, the Olympic Golf Competition and the World Cup of Golf are all eligible.

However, importantly, TEAM events are not. Unfortunately for LIV, a big part of their concept is to have teams. (Some with really silly names.)

The way rankings are currently determined is that each player “contributes performance points as determined by the player’s individual Strokes Gained World Rating.”

The value of a tournament is determined by adding up the values of all of the players in it.

A player’s value is kept over a two-year period, which may be too long, but it’s the way they do it.

Currently, although OWGR could waive some of their criteria for LIV, they aren’t inclined to, at least not right now.  It’s probably because LIV isn’t making any kind of effort to be more like other tournaments.  Playing 72 holes would help them, but they won’t.  Adding more players and having a meaningful cut would help them, but they haven’t.

LIV seems to content to whine and say poor us, but at the same time, LIV has no interest in making the changes to its tournaments. They certainly don’t want to wait two years for points.  That’s really the big sticking point.

The two-year time frame is driving LIV crazy because every week their players fall farther in the OWGR.

Recently, in what seems a hail Mary approach to securing the OWGR points for its members, the LIV tour made a business deal with the MENA Tour, a middle-eastern golf tour that hasn’t played a tournament since before the pandemic.

The reason for their deal was that MENA had, in the past, offered ranking points. But they were considered a developmental tour and had 54-hole tournaments.   The value of their points, compared to other tours, is likely to be low.

Not fooled by this play, the OWGR acknowledged their request but declined to offer any points for the last two LIV events this season, which they requested.

OWGR is now reviewing the request for what they called the MENA Tour’s new Limited Field Tournaments, otherwise known as the LIV events, which include fields with fewer than 80 players.

However, the OWGR said regular MENA Tour events would remain eligible for points that they previously had.  In other words, they aren’t punishing MENA for doing business with LIV, but they aren’t complying with LIV’s request, at least not now.

What does this mean for LIV?

Practically speaking, it still means LIV players won’t get ranking points until, at the earliest, some time in 2023.  Maybe longer.

By that time, the two-year rolling points system will have dropped players like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Bryson DeChambeau far down the points list, below the magic number of 50 or 60 in the world which is required to get into some majors for which they are not exempt.

As far as the Masters goes, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, and Sergio Garcia, as past champions, may well be invited to the Masters. They may even be invited to the dinner.  But if Koepka and DeChambeau drop lower than 50 in the world, they won’t be in Augusta that week.

Koepka is a two-time PGA champ.  He can enter that tournament as a past winner with no problem.  So can Mickelson and Martin Kaymer.

DeChambeau and Koepka are still exempt for the U.S. Open due to fairly recent victories.  Everybody else can go through open qualifying.

For the British Open, past champions qualify up to age 60, and that includes Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Louis Oosthuizen, and recent winner Cameron Smith.

But any player can go through qualifying, and there are even a few tournaments around the world where winners automatically qualify.  There are some where the top three, if not already exempt, qualify.  The Open Qualifying Series they used to call it.

Next. What Should The Four Majors Do About LIV Players?. dark

However, it’s unlikely, in the US at least, that any of the LIV players will get a lot of TV time unless they miraculously turn around their golf games to the level they had when they were winners at the majors they won.

They will not get the good TV time pairings unless they play themselves into contention. Of the lot, Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith have the best chance of doing that, but they are not locks.

So, really, all the OWGR has to do, all the majors have to do, is wait it out.  As the rankings drop these players farther and farther down, they become less relevant in today’s golf environment. They become footnotes of the game.