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LIV faces uphill battle

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — The Saudi-funded LIV Golf tour faces a fight to win world rankings points, the Asian Tour’s CEO warned on Friday after players voiced growing frustration with the impasse.

The make-up of the Official World Golf Rankings board suggests difficulties for the breakaway tour’s application, the Asian Tour’s Cho Minh Thant said.

Players are earning huge sums in LIV’s inaugural season but without points they are plunging down the rankings, jeopardizing their chances of qualifying for the major championships.

The official rankings body, whose board is stacked with senior figures from US and European golf, is currently reviewing LIV’s case — a process that is expected to take more than a year.

“It’s an uphill battle, that’s for sure,” Cho told AFP, when reminded that the OWGR board consists of establishment figures including the heads of the US and European tours.

The US PGA Tour has banned the LIV rebels from its events and the US Ryder Cup team, while a similar suspension by Europe’s DP World Tour is on hold pending a court challenge.

However, the four major championships are yet to decide whether to allow LIV players.

“Hopefully the major championships come to their senses and realize that a major championship without some of these players is not a selection of the best players in the world,” Cho said.

At this week’s LIV invitational in Saudi Arabia, Patrick Reed, now 56th, complained he was getting “hammered” in the rankings. Former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson is down to 24th.

Even if points are introduced next year, players could be so far down the rankings that they cannot catch up. But Cho said they were aware of the risks.

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