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Why LIV Golfers Are Competing on The Asian Tour

By: | Wed 28 Feb 2024

One of the reasons most golfers who defected to LIV gave for their decision was because it meant they would be able to reduce their schedules and spend more time with their families. 

They are now all being paid handsomely for playing less golf. So why is that so many of them are now turning to the likes of the Asian Tour, where the poor souls have to play four whole rounds?

That can be summed up in three words: world ranking points!

And it explains why so many of them were competing at the International Series Oman tournament, sanctioned by the Asian Tour. 

A total of 21 LIV players were in the field, and the tournament was won by one of them, Carlos Ortiz, of Mexico. A final round of 65 at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat was good enough to give him the win over South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen. You can take it from me that, under normal circumstances (i.e. before LIV Golf), Oosthuizen would not have given this event a second look.

Ortiz won $360,000 but that is chicken feed in his new life. 

What he will be interested in is the world rankings points he picked up. You will know that no points are awarded at LIV events, and that means golfers who were in and around the top 50 when they made the move have now tumbled down the rankings, meaning they cannot play in the majors. 

The Asian Tour, however, is recognised by the OWGR, which awards ranking points.

Before joining LIV, Ortiz played on the PGA Tour, winning the 2020 Houston Open and climbing to 44th in the world, good enough to get him into all four majors. 

Since joining LIV, though, Ortiz has fallen to 1,286. But his victory in Oman has seen him climb to 237. He still has a long way to go but another win could see him on the verge of getting back into the sport’s four biggest events.

Oosthuizen, once a fixture in the top 10, had tumbled to 137th. But he is up to 107th after his runner-up finish. 

Louis Oosthuizen

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Other LIV players who finished in the top 10 at the International Series Oman tournament included Joaquin Niemann, Mito Pereira, Peter Uihlein, Matthew Wolff, David Puig and Lucas Herbert

Niemann has already received an invitation to compete at The Masters after a fine start to the season, including victory at the Australian Open and a round of 59 on his way to winning LIV’s Mayakoba tournament.

After his win, Ortiz said: “I hope this is the start of a great year. It means so much to win an International Series event. I would like to play in majors this year and win on the LIV Golf League.” 

But here’s the thing - when these guys signed for LIV, they were well aware of the fact that they would not be earning ranking points. It turns out that having a place in the tournaments that define a player’s career does actually mean something. Although probably not as much as the opportunity to pocket $4m for winning a 54-hole golf tournament!

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Tags: LIV Golf

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