The 15-time major winner has paid the highest possible respect to two retired professional players....
There is no doubt that the introduction of LIV Golf will define the sport when the effects of 2022 are evaluated with the advantage of appropriate distance.
The Greg Norman-led startup has significantly affected the more established tours, partly because of the controversy surrounding its financing source and the huge wealth it brings to the game. The PGA Tour has made significant adjustments in response to the LIV Golf threat, including significantly increased payouts for several of its events. In response, the DP World Tour has grown closer to the PGA Tour to maintain its place at the golf industry's top.
Yet LIV Golf has still managed to attract some of the top players in the world despite these changes. In contrast, if you look at the OWGR towards the end of 2022, the players it has recruited are not all that well-known.
This is due to the fact that LIV Golf cannot award OWGR points to its users, even though individuals who play on it might potentially amass incredible money. As a result, many of the year's top performers are buried deep in the standings. Where have some of the venture's first signees fallen in their roles?
When the year 2022 started, Dustin Johnson was already the third-best golfer in the world. The American kept up the form that got him there, earning more than $35 million in prize money in LIV Golf's first season while leading his 4 Aces GC team to a dominant performance as captain. But as the year winds out, Johnson isn't even in the top 40. Instead, he'll be ranked No. 41 worldwide by year's end.
The decline in OWGR is not unique to Johnson. In the first week of 2022, Sergio Garcia was ranked 45th in the world, but by the year's final week, he had fallen to 112th. Meanwhile, Kevin Na has dropped from World No. 29 to World No. 48, making him eligible to play in the 2019 Masters despite his overall decline in ranking.
But neither Ian Poulter nor Lee Westwood can say the same. At the start of the year, Poulter was ranked No. 54 in the world, barely outside the top 50, but he would conclude the year at No. 138 (out of the top 100). Even for the previous World No. 1, Westwood, the OWGR is unsettling material. He had held the 37th spot in the world and had a good chance of being invited to the Masters, but now he is down to 156th and has almost no chance.
Louis Oosthuizen, a player on the European Tour for the LIV Golf, will participate in The Masters because of his high global ranking. However, he remained on the outside looking in for a long time until he managed to snag a last-minute invitation. While the year began with the South African at No. 10, he will end it at No. 50. And how about Phil Mickelson, who was one of LIV Golf's first big-name signings? Lefty can at least play Augusta National next year thanks to his three Masters victories, but he should be grateful he doesn't depend on his OWGR, which has dropped from World No.33 at the start of the year to World No.209 presently.
Those who have been with LIV Golf from the beginning have been one of many to see their ranks plummet. For instance, Brooks Koepka, who joined the tour in time for the second event, saw his world ranking drop from No. 16 at the beginning of the year to No. 51 after the season. Meanwhile, Patrick Reed also played his first round of LIV Golf in Portland, Oregon. Starting the year at a respectable World No.25, he hadn't dropped out of the top 50 since 2014. He fell out of the top 50 for good at the end of September and is now ranked 70 worldwide.
Another player that started with LIV Golf is Bryson DeChambeau. He was ranked fifth in the world before the new year began but had dropped to number 65 by the time Christmas shopping was in full force.
Other instances include the ongoing struggle of LIV Golf players to gain OWGR points for the organization by competing in other Tours. In 2022, LIV Golf has significantly altered the course of play. One can't help but wonder whether 2023 will be remembered as much for its OWGR point offerings as for the massive sums of cash it will continue to pump into the game.
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