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LIV Golf Aligns with MENA to Qualify for World Golf Rankings

Could this be the avenue LIV Series golfers use to find their way back into competition with PGA Tour opponents?

It looks like athletes from the Saudi-backed LIV Golf could soon ascend in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) after all.

That’s because the MENA Tour (short for “Middle East and North Africa”) announced a partnership with LIV Golf on Wednesday, per ESPN. The alliance should allow LIV golfers to qualify for the OWGR rankings immediately, according to a release. If that’s the case, it could provide a pathway for them to again qualify for major championships.

“This is a very exciting day for the MENA Tour and our players,” MENA Tour commissioner David Spencer said in the release. “Through this alliance, our players will now have enhanced playing opportunities and stronger pathways. This is great news for the future of many young players on our Tour.”

Established in 2011, the Dubai-based MENA Tour received OWGR credentials in 2016. At its height, the Tour hosted anywhere between 10 and 15 tournaments a year. The Tour, however, was cancelled in 2018 before returning the following year. That return proved short-lived, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut MENA down for two years before it returned in May.

The LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok, which begins this weekend, is a MENA event.

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Some may not view rankings as a proper measure of actual skill. But the OWGR determines eligibility for the four major competitions — the Masters, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, and the Open Championship. So if your lifelong goal is to join the illustrious Green Jacket Club, you need a World Ranking to compete. As Skysports.com points out, the points effect for LIV players may be minimal, but this is at least their way in the door.

Regardless of what’s next, LIV Golf president and COO Atul Khosla believes this deal is a positive step.

“We are taking this mutually beneficial action to support the game at the developmental level and because of the importance and fairness of LIV golfers qualifying for OWGR points,” he said. “We’re pleased to create pathways that give more opportunities for young players, while also giving fans rankings that include all the world’s best golfers.”

LIV Series Golf currently has 12 of the top 50 players signed with the league.

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