LIV Denied Ranking Points; What It Means for LIV Players and Majors?

Brooks Koepka, 2023 PGA Championship, Oak Hill,(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Brooks Koepka, 2023 PGA Championship, Oak Hill,(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images) /

The Official World Golf Ranking Board just voted not to give LIV Golf players ranking points for LIV events. What does it mean for LIV players and majors?

Being refused ranking points hurts the image of LIV. It hurts the value of the LIV players from a marketing standpoint. And from the player’s standpoint, it hurts the ability of the majority of LIV players to get into majors in the future or until such time as LIV makes the changes that the OWGR requested.

And of course, everything could change should the PGA Tour, LIV, and the Saudi Public Investment Fund come to an agreement going forward.

However, there are some exceptions, and some exemptions still available to a small group of major-winning LIV players. They are like gold to those who have them.

Cam Smith, World Rank 15, and Brooks Koepka, World Rank 18, are the only two LIV golfers in the top 20 in the world. No one else is in the top 50, which is the key number to get into the Masters, for example. No one else is in the top 60, which is the magic exemption number for the U.S. Open.

Phil Mickelson is exempt for all majors for another three years.

However, there are several players with lifetime exemptions to certain majors. And there are some other ways major winners can get into more majors.

Masters winners Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, and Charl Schwartzel have “near lifetime” exemptions for winning the tournament. Practically speaking, they can play until Augusta National asks them to stop.

Cam Smith, Phil Mickelson, and Louis Oosthuizen are the only LIV players to have won the British Open. At this juncture, the British Open has an age limit on play by their past champions. It’s up to age 60. 

After that, they’d have to qualify, which is unlikely to happen. They might receive a special exemption by the R&A. (It’s incredible to think that Mickelson is just seven years from the big Six-Oh).

Any winner of the PGA has a lifetime exemption to play. From LIV, that includes Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, and Martin Kaymer. So, whether anyone approves or not, this threesome will be around at the PGA for as long as they want to participate.

The U.S. Open is more cut and dried and the least generous with its exemptions for past winners. Winners get an exemption for 10 years. After that, they have to qualify some other way, whether it’s winning a PGA Tour event in the future, going through qualifying, being in the top 60 in the world, or winning the Senior Open.

Brooks Koepka, for example, is exempt through 2028 for the U.S. Open because winners get 10-year exemptions to the tournament. Bryson DeChambeau can play the U.S. Open through 2030. Dustin Johnson is good through 2026. However, this is Martin Kaymer’s last year because he won in 2014.

Now the one positive thing LIV golfers have going for them is the five-year exemptions each major gives to winners of other majors. That means Bryson DeChambeau can play in all four majors for another two seasons because he won the U.S. Open in 2020.

Phil Mickelson is exempt for all majors for another three years. He was exempt for three of them anyway, but it means he can play the U.S. Open through 2026. Can he win it? Unlikely, but at least he has a shot.

Brooks Koepka can play in all four majors for the next five years and the U.S. Open through 2028. Of course, he has a lifetime exemption for the PGA.

Patrick Reed’s five-year exemption for other majors for winning the 2018 Masters is done. So, he’s not exempt for any other major except the Masters. He could try to qualify for the U.S. Open. If he were to win the Masters, he could start over on the five-year exemption program.

Cameron Smith is exempt for all majors through 2027, and of course, for the British Open until he’s 60.

Next. LIV Denied OWGR Points. dark

Now, any one of the LIV golfers who can play in majors has the opportunity to win one of those majors and start the five-year exemption process for the rest of the majors all over again.

Major winning LIV Players Include:

  • Player                                 World Rank             Major Won
  • Cam Smith                         15                              British Open
  • Brooks Koepka                 18                              PGA,  U.S. Open 2017, 2018
  • Bryson DeChambeau     132                            2020 US Open
  • Sergio Garcia                    375                            Masters
  • Dustin Johnson                121                            2016 US Open,  Masters
  • Phil Mickelson                  110                            PGA, Masters, British Open
  • Patrick Reed                      62                              Masters
  • Charl Schwartzel              431                            Masters
  • Martin Kaymer                 1906                         2014 US Open,  PGA