Hideki Matsuyama, Viktor Hovland see path to LIV names in world rankings

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Viktor Hovland said he understands the argument being made by the LIV Golf Series that its players deserve ranking points, an ongoing contentious argument being made by players who fled the PGA Tour for the new circuit.

But he isn’t ready to give his backing right away.

“If you want to get world ranking points, you obviously have to follow the process,” said Hovland, a Norwegian ranked No. 11 in the world, who resisted the financial windfall of joining the Saudi-backed LIV tour. “And I think they’re obviously making an effort to get those points, but I don’t think it’s right to give them an exemption to just get points overnight. They obviously have to follow the process, whatever the process might be.”

Hovland said there’s no denying some of the “top 100 players in the world” are on the LIV circuit. In his opinion, denying those players a spot in the rankings “isn’t good for golf either.”

The LIV Golf Series continues to angle for Official World Golf Ranking points, but the governing board is reviewing the LIV alliance with the MENA Tour, whose players earn ranking points. The recent partnership with MENA, a developmental circuit in the Middle East and Africa, is believed to have been hatched with the LIV hoping to begin earning points immediately.

OWGR said last week it wouldn’t have a decision before LIV events in Thailand last week and in Jeddah this week.

Hovland and reigning Zozo Championship winner Hideki Matsuyama chimed in on the debate from the lone PGA Tour event in Japan on Tuesday. Matsuyama said he believes players on the LIV tour should be able to earn points in the future but only after a defined process can be established. Part of the issue for PGA Tour players is the different format, including shorter tournaments and an evolving rulebook. For example, the scheduled LIV finale in Miami shifted its format in the past 30 days.

“I think it’s fine to award them, but I think it’s difficult considering how it would be viewed by the other tours,” Matsuyama said.

Matsuyama said recent interest from LIV officials in bringing him to the competing tour wasn’t mutual.

“I’m a member of the PGA Tour,” Matsuyama said. “The players who left did so because they thought it was the right thing to do. So I can’t say anything about them. I am playing on the PGA Tour and I want to continue doing my best here.”

–Field Level Media

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