Bryson DeChambeau has accused the Official World Golf Ranking of “slow playing” the LIV Golf Series’s urgent quest for its golfers to pick up points and declared that “lies are being told” to block the Saudi-funded circuit.
DeChambeau criticised the game’s traditional powers in the decision to deny LIV’s bid to circumvent the OWGR application process for points by forming a “strategic alliance” with the Mena Tour, the little-known development circuit based in Dubai.
LIV had believed that the loophole would give its players access to rankings points at this week’s £22 million event in Bangkok. But OWGR deemed that the Mena Tour submission had been made too late and that it was conducting a review.
With the OWGR panel featuring Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, and Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour chief executive, DeChambeau thinks there is a deliberate tactic to stall the procedure, despite LIV being made aware that the application for its own recognition could take at least a year.
“They’re delaying the inevitable,” DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open champion, said after Friday's first round in Thailand. “They’re going to just keep playing a waiting game, where we’re going to keep dropping down in the rankings to where our points [if and when they are granted] won’t ever matter.
“That’s what they’re trying to accomplish, and I hope that people can see right through that rather than believe the lies that they’ve been told.”
David Spencer, the Mena Tour commissioner, is similarly convinced that OWGR’s rejection on Thursday was erroneous, claiming that the LIV Series – soon to be league – was now merely a part of his Tour.
“We have had various communications with OWGR since submitting our 2022/23 schedule, Mena Tour handbook, exemption criteria and our field ahead of our opening event of our new season which tees off today,” he said in a statement.
“None of this communication pointed towards any technical reason for the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok to be treated any differently to any Mena Tour event, every one of which has received OWGR since we were accepted into the OWGR framework in 2016.’’
There has been no direct comment from LIV, but sources have indicated that there is the possibility of a legal recourse. Spencer stated his intention to submit next week’s LIV field in Saudi Arabia by Wednesday’s deadline, although OWGR has already said that would be dismissed as it continues to investigate the changes to the Mena Tour structure.
On the Stonehill course, England’s Richard Bland shot a 65 to share the lead with Spaniard Eugenio Chacarra and South African Branden Grace, with Ian Poulter in a tie for fourth one behind. DeChambeau is four off the pace.
Sergio Garcia fired a 68, but the bigger news surrounding the Ryder Cup’s all-time leading points-scorer is that his name is absent on the entry list for the Mallorca Open in two weeks’ time after Friday’s cut-off point for entries passed.
That means that unless he picks up a sponsor’s invite in the next 10 days, Garcia cannot meet the membership’s minimum playing requirement of four events for this season and will be ineligible to appear in next year’s Ryder Cup, regardless of the court case against the DP World Tour’s sanctions, due to be heard in February. Garcia’s management did not respond to a request for comment.