Adam Scott hasn’t interjected himself into the LIV Golf debate often.
After acknowledging the prospect of a limited schedule appealed to him as rumors of the proposed breakaway circulated, the former Masters champion ultimately decided chasing more major titles took precedence when LIV Golf came to fruition last spring.
Scott, 42, chose to stay with the PGA Tour. And while he doesn’t begrudge those who made the move, he said the potential of LIV Golf players missing out on future majors and events such as the Olympics was part of the decision they made.
That includes fellow Australian Cam Smith, who bolted for the Saudi-backed series following last year’s Tour Championship. Smith will be at this year’s Masters and presumably will defend his title at The Open Championship, but marquee events beyond that remain in serious question.
Scott said it would be “unfortunate” if Smith isn’t eligible to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics, but added that all LIV golfers knew that was a potential sacrifice they made in signing up with the series.
“They’ve made their decisions and some of those decisions — well, that decision may come with some sacrifice in the short or long-term,” Scott said ahead of this week’s Sony Open, where he is the oldest player in the field.
“In the short-term it was sacrificing the ability to have world ranking points. If they didn’t know that, then they’re realizing that’s the case at the moment.”
The crux of the issue is that LIV Golf events are not currently awarded Official World Rankings points. While the Masters stuck to their criteria of inviting past champions and players in the top 50, LIV players continue to slide down the world rankings.
In all, 16 LIV players received invites to play at Augusta National this April. Barring a change in LIV’s status with the OWGR, those numbers will continue to decrease — with the real potential that none of them will be eligible for Paris next year.
“I think it would be unfortunate, yes, for Australia and their team,” Scott said. “Cam also made these decisions, as did (Marc Leishman) and Matt Jones and any other Aussie who has gone on there. There may be some sacrifice.
“Seems like they’re OK with living with that, mostly. At least the Aussies seem that way.”
The world rankings system has come under intense scrutiny in recent months, with several top players including Jon Rahm calling for LIV Golf events to be included. Scott is among those who believe it is far from a perfect system, although he isn’t certain what the correct solution is.
“World rankings is a very, very hard thing to get right,” Scott said. “I don’t think it’s correct.
“The weight at the top of the points I don’t think is enough. I beat about four people last week (at the Tournament of Champions), so I shouldn’t get a lot of points. But Jon Rahm beat a field of champion players on the PGA Tour and apparently the best 30 players on the tour for the year, so I think that’s worthy of some points.”
Rahm remained fifth in the rankings following his dramatic come-from-behind victory on Maui.
However, tweaks to the current system won’t directly address the debate around LIV. And with multiple ongoing court cases and a submission to the OWGR under a review with no known timeline, LIV Golf players could be increasingly rare entries at marquee events over the next two years.
–Field Level Media