The PGA Tour and DP World Tour are no longer the sole strategic allegiance in professional golf.
On Wednesday the MENA Tour (Middle East and North Africa) announced its own “strategic alliance” with LIV Golf, the upstart circuit led by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. As LIV Golf continues its quest for Official World Golf Ranking points, its events will now be sanctioned by the Dubai-based developmental tour, which is recognized by the OWGR.
“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,” said LIV Golf President and COO, Atul Khosla. “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 Golf Bangkok, the series’ first event in Asia, tees off later this week an hour north of the capital at the newly-opened Stonehill Golf Club. The event is now the first – and so far only – event on the schedule for the MENA Tour’s 2022-23 season.
The OWGR website does not list this week’s LIV event on its schedule and no announcement has been made regarding LIV’s status with the OWGR.
According to a report in the Telegraph, Norman and LIV expect the Bangkok event to be LIV’s first with OWGR points. When the series transitions to the LIV Golf League in 2023, the MENA Tour schedule will reportedly include the 14-event LIV schedule.
The MENA Tour was founded in 2011 by the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation and was previously affiliated with both the R&A and the Arab Golf Federation. After five years the MENA Tour was recognized by the Official World Golf Ranking in 2016.
Norman and the players have been adamant from the start that LIV Golf events deserve OWGR points, so much so that LIV recently wrote a letter to the OWGR chairman asking for events to retroactively earn points. The application process for points can take up to a year, and LIV applied in July.
The “strategic alliance” is one of many bold moves made by LIV to earn OWGR points and proves the upstart circuit will do doing anything and everything to earn them.