Belgian Thomas Pieters brought his parents to this week’s Masters knowing it could well be his final start at Augusta National if he and his fellow LIV Golf players are not able to earn world ranking points.
If not exempt, a player’s standing in the world ranking is the key for them to gain access to the majors, and LIV Golf players have tumbled down the list as they await a ruling on their eligibility while competing on the Saudi-backed circuit. Should the ruling not go his way, Pieters, who secured his fourth Masters invite given he was among the top-50 on the final Official World Golf Ranking at the end of 2022, is doing what he can to make his next start at Augusta National a memorable one.
“I took my parents here because it could be my last one. That’s just being realistic,” world number 44 Pieters, one of 18 LIV Golf players in this year’s Masters field, said on Tuesday. “I don’t know. Time will tell. We’ll see.” Pieters, 31, made his Masters debut in 2017, where he shared the second-round lead and went on to finish in a career-best share of fourth place at Augusta National.
LIV Golf submitted an application to the OWGR board last July and then formed an alliance with the little-known MENA Tour in a bid to fast-track its quest for ranking points but quickly learned that, for now, its players will remain ineligible. The LIV Golf application remains under review.
According to the OWGR website, the ranking points breakdown is derived from each tournament’s total field rating and points are awarded to players who make the cut and complete an event, subject to their finishing position in the tournament. LIV Golf’s 54-hole events do not have a cut.
The LIV Golf series is bankrolled by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and critics have accused it of being a vehicle for the country to attempt to improve its reputation in the face of criticism of its human rights record.
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